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Harriet Berkal

Harriet Berkal: Beyond the Purim Mask

by Harriet Berkal, Feb 21, 2022

It’s amazing how in just two years, global citizens are for the most part, becoming accustomed to the daily wearing of masks.

But these accessories are worn due to the pandemic and carry with them the tremendous responsibility of caring for oneself and the safety of others.


During the holiday of Purim, we remember the great masquerade of dressing up and the unveiling of the enemy, Haman and his descendants to the Jewish people. Queen Esther was, of course, our heroine, along with her uncle Mordechai who refused to bow down to Haman. In modern life, we tragically find humans hiding behind various filters, to conceal their real identities.


I think of all those who are afraid to “come out” in their own skin, and live open lives as gay and transgender people. The pressure would be immense to feel compelled to hide one’s truth and live an unfulfilled life, for fear of repudiation. Tolerance and inclusiveness are increasing but, well, aren’t there yet.


The scandals of some religious ministries have revealed years of sexual abuse on minors, which is horrific. Utilizing the cloak of piety with repressed sexuality has conjured up a toxic cocktail of post traumatic stress for so many.


Very recently, former Vice President Mike Pence, finally stood up, no longer subservient to Donald Trump, calling him out. He wasn’t afraid to pretend any longer that the election wasn’t stolen. This is a huge declaration of being emancipated from the grasp of a dictatorial, lying vindictive tyrant, who still sadly has influence. Pence has broken from the deception which must be challenged in order to save democracy.


Imposters exist. There are COVID scams and other hoaxes, utilizing some world tragedy, to rip off the unsuspecting. And beware: they will stop at nothing to create a facade of legitimacy.


The Sandy Hook slaughter of grade one students facilitated charities to pop up under the false pretence of being legitimate. Thankfully, they were exposed.


The recent announcement that Camilla the former mistress, now wife of Prince Charles to be the future queen, is a major uncloaking of illusion. She was instrumental in the dissolve of Charles and Diana’s marriage. The adultery led to the tormenting of Diana, the virtuous sacrificial bride of royalty. Will the British people and the Commonwealth, truly accept her and bow to her authority?


We all have pasts, but have you ever wondered to what extent someone will either enter a profession to cover up former days of possible drug use, promiscuity, abortion, etc.? They are trying to preserve a persona which is contradictory to their present seemingly righteous life.


If you have ever watched the BBC series, The Fall, we find the serial killer, played by Jaimie Dornan, working his days as a bereavement counsellor. It is a brilliant mask of someone who lacks empathy as a psychopath, consoling families, whilst murdering his vulnerable female victims at night. The two images cannot coexist and yet, they do everyday in our society.


Ponzi schemes run by the likes of philanthropist Bernie Madoff are a case in point. They appear so enigmatic to those they seduce, but their motives are not based in any real sort of altruism or sincerity.


There are people who live double lives and have separate families kept secret from one other. Typically, a death triggers the unveiling of that charade. But the pain must be excruciating for those left behind.


Has anyone viewed “The Woman Who Wasn’t There” documentary? It depicts a female named Tania Head, who claimed to be a survivor of the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack in 2001. But she wasn’t even in America at the time. She was Spanish and gained tremendous notoriety from her fraudulent tales of escape and even befriended grieving families.


So, there are many identity projections, where we see only one side of the coin.


The “Masquerade” should be over as fooling or entrapping others only ends in pain.


We must salvage the truth from the preying hands of those who beguile us in their master plots to bamboozle the masses.


Queen Esther did this in the story of Purim. She saved the Jews from annihilation. Ulterior motives are easy to suspect- harder to prove. Be cautious as the world is now covered in masks. Do you really know who you are dealing with?


Some are just innocent people born a certain way, navigating their own liberation. Others know exactly what they are doing. It is those amongst us, with ulterior motives we much watch for.


Haman wore a triangular hat.


The King is furious with Haman and has him hung. ... It's a long-held belief that the three corners of the triangle-shaped hamantaschen represent Haman's favorite three-cornered hat. Supposedly, taking a bite out of the cookie is in defiance of bowing down to Haman and preventing him from carrying out his evil plan. (Wikipedia Mar 21, 2016)


But the king also killed Vashti for refusing to attend a party.


Extremes exist in our society.

Aim for one that is altruistic, honest, and inclusive.


Happy Purim


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