A Bisl Torah

Who Sees You?

Who sees you?
When a caterpillar sheds its cocoon in becoming a butterfly, there is a feeling of release, an exultation of being free. No longer shielded by the cocoon, we admire the raw beauty of the butterfly and its ability to emerge as something new. 
Interestingly enough, many of us crave the opposite. A cocoon, an inner sanctuary where we are protected from judgment, criticism, vulnerability, and unpredictability sounds magnificent. A place where we can hide; where we only see ourselves. 
But, this kind of place doesn’t exist. And so, we create living, moving cocoons and put on masks to hide what we are feeling and how we are doing. And while we feel shielded from what may hurt us, always wearing that cocoon means we never truly live in this world as ourselves. With so many masks, are we really ever seen?
Purim is the mask-wearing celebration. The hiding of real personas, the concealment of identity, and the strategic taking off of masks at precisely the right moment. We spend one day dressing up, adding masks to the heavy and burdensome masks we wear daily. 
But could this Purim be different? Is it possible that we might choose a moment in which the masks come off? Both the costume and the hard exterior we wear in order to protect the soft folds of our heart? The caterpillar turns in a beautiful, soaring, awe-inspiring butterfly. 
Without the mask, who are we?
Song of the Mask Vendor by I.D. Minzberg
Masks, masks, masks for sale!
Masks as cheap as words!
Guaranteed! They cannot fail
To make you free as birds:
Birds of prey, yes, indeed,
To swoop upon all weakness,
And clothe the nakedness of your deed
With robes of verbal meekness.
Masks, masks, masks for sale!
Masks for priest and layman!
Come one, come all, woman, male,
Teresh, Zeresh, Haman!
A mask for each and every station
In auto-or democracy!
A mask for people in every nation
Paying homage to hypocrisy.
Masks, masks, masks for sale!
Masks as cheap as cheap can be!
Your conscience wails? Let it wail!
Sell your soul and then be free!

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