You’ve likely been warned about the wolf in sheep’s clothing, but have you ever seen a sheep dress up as a wolf? In Barnyard Purim, farm animals put on a Purim spiel and end up not being able to see the true danger in their midst until its almost too late.
On Purim we dress in disguise— our intention to trick others about who we are. No wonder that Purim imagery always includes the mask, the classic symbol of hidden identity.
Nowhere in the Book of Esther does it mention dressing up in costume so where did the Purim custom come from? Historians suggest that Jews adopted the custom of donning costumes for Purim from the medieval European carnivals that took place around them. The first know mention of the Purim costume in Jewish writings came from a 15th century Italian rabbi.
A central theme of the Purim story is that not everyone is who they appear to be. Esther is the queen, and secretly Jewish. Haman is the king’s trusted advisor but is ultimately revealed as the villain. Humble Mordechai rides in the royal parade, which Haman mistakenly thought was meant for him.
In another of Kar-Ben’s Purim stories, A Queen in Jerusalem, a girl dressed as Queen Esther poses for a group of artists. She can see herself in each artist’s portrait even though each portrait is different.
Identity exists in layers and we all look different depending on the angle. In Barnyard Purim, you may see a wolf and I may see a sheep, but it’s actually a fox.