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Rabbi's Week in Review - 2/27/2023

02/27/2023 03:41:00 PM


With this week’s Torah portion focusing on the priestly garments and with the costumes worn on Purim, we are squarely focused on the clothes we wear. The purpose of the two could not be more diametrically opposed.

The priestly garments — the clothes worn by the Kohanim — are worn with a sense of lifting up the Kohanim in their role as spiritual leaders. Whether you see this detailed emphasis on their clothes, replete with symbolic purpose, as laudable or elitist, it carries with it the idea that the Kohanim should present to the people as their best selves. You could even say they are presenting as their most authentic selves.

On the other hand, Purim with its costumes, is all about hiding our true identity. It is a holiday that seems contrary to any sense of authenticity. We pretend to be what we are not. We celebrate a holiday by turning our sanctuaries — places devoted to bringing in the sacred and a sense of peace — into places of mayhem, if not drunken celebrations.

The question I ponder at this time each year is whether we need this moment on the holiday calendar. Do we need to blow off some steam, let down our hair and get a little crazy in order to appreciate or seek out our sacred space for the rest of the year, or does it encourage and feed our lesser selves.

Thu, February 29 2024 20 Adar I 5784