Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

What’s Behind the Mask?

Esther Rabi

We wear masks not just on Purim, but all through the year. Some masks show what we want to be, or what someone else wants us to be; some masks simply hide what’s underneath. The trouble with masks is that the longer we wear them, the harder they are to remove.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nobody wears a mask when they’re alone — a mask is meant to communicate something. What does a mask tell others about us? “Costumes are about wish-fulfillment,” says clinical psychologistJoshHooberman. Putting on a fireman’s hat or a doctor’s scrubs, for example, lets you live out a fantasy of saving people’s lives, just for a little while. Dressing up may also give you “permission to let your dark side come out,” according to psychology professorDennisRains of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. It’s not nice to be an evil villain, but when it’s just a costume, it makes everyone smile. Another factor in costume choice: by dressing up as something we fear, we diminish its power — if we become “it,” we can’t be hurt by “it.” On Purim, it’s all done in fun. But most people wear figurative masks all year, concealing their real selves under the image they choose to show or are expected to show. How does this affect us? And how can we get to know the person underneath?

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you