The Child who Wouldn’t Put on his Purim Costume

The Child who Wouldn’t Put on his Purim Costume

I’ve been a mother for 19 years, and by this point it’s hard for a child to do anything that actually surprises me.

But this morning, that was exactly what happened. My 2-year-old Yonatan did something none of his 7 older siblings ever did.

This morning, I tried to get Yonatan dressed up in his lion costume for dress-up day at gan, and he began crying and pushing it away. So I ran upstairs and brought down the Chinese costume. No go. Crying, pushing it away. The weird thing was that he was clinging to me, crying, as though he was actually afraid of the costumes.

So I dressed him up in regular pants and a sweater, the rejected costumes stuffed in his backpack in case he would have a change of heart, and walked him over to gan. Even at his beloved gan, Yonatan was upset to see his dear Ganenet dressed up as a ladybug. and the other children in their costumes (strangely enough, the only other child who didn’t dress up was the other boy in the gan named Yonatan…)

And on the way home, I thought about costumes.

How the world wears a costume.

And we can’t see past the costume of “terrible things just happen” “things couldn’t get any worse” “What a tragic turn of events” to see Hashem behind the curtain, pulling the strings even at the darkest, scariest, most unsure moments.

How people wear costumes.

And we can’t see past the costumes of “the obnoxious neighbor” “the rebellious child” “the critical sister-in-law” to see the perfect Divine soul lying underneath.

How I wear costumes.

And I can’t see past the costumes of “the grouchy mother” “the imperfect wife” “the daughter who doesn’t call her parents enough” “the neighbor who prepares the lamest Mishlochei Manot” to see the real me underneath. Yearning, hoping, trying, praying to be good. To be better.

And maybe that, I thought this morning with a smile, was what Yonatan meant when he refused to dress up as a lion.

“No more costumes, Eema.”

This year I want just me, just the truth, just Hashem’s light that lies hidden underneath everything and all of us.


  1. So true and beautifully written!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Lots of kids feel threatened by the costume and masks. Especially those with oversized heads as in Disneyland or other theme parks. Clowns are also scary for many kids. One year when I wanted to be a clown I made a point of putting on all the makeup and costume with the nursery class watching. This was to help my 3 year old deal with her fear. It really helped!

  3. So Beautiful.
    How to stop judging, which usually puts us above them in our eyes.
    Because we all wear costumes, only Hashem can really see our essence.
    May we be zoche to see past the physical and see our sisters and brothers as one, connected, as pure neshamas who have the greatest gift in common.

  4. Love it! Really hit the spot ( as always)! Thank you

  5. Thank you! The Shefer Method also talks a lot about “not buying the costume” of a child’s misbehavior, but rather seeing the true, beautiful, cooperative soul underneath.

    • JewishMom

      right, I was thinking of the shefer approach when I wrote that paragraph:)

  6. Amazing how you uncover the profoundest of messages in day to day life! Thank you for sharing those messages so beautifully and succinctly .

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