Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Dis' Guys

It is a well-known fact among Chassidim that a person only dresses up as something that he has a desire to be. I don’t know where this truism comes from but I do know for sure it is so. I know because my teacher told me about it when, as a nine year old boy, I told him I was going to dress up as Mordechai the Tzaddik. I suppose the bumbling fool could not have known I would spend the rest of the week trying to remember who had suggested I dress up as Queen Esther the year before.

An emerging chassidishe adolescent, I already knew that girls are talked about, not to, and a girl is a terrible thing to want to be. In fact even girls should not really want to be girls, hence their gracious Sheasani Kirzono (He fashioned us at his whim) as opposed to the proud Shelo Asani Isha (He did not make us a woman) that men say every morning in their prayers.

At that tender age I was naturally unaware of how soundly my sexuality had just been questioned but it did set me wondering. How was it possible that a year earlier I had wanted to be a queen and now a tzaddik? The solution I came up with (at that young age!) was that if you have a few things you want to dress-up as, it is a combination of them all that you want to be. In the years since, I have worked upon and developed this theory and now have what could possibly be classified as some of the very best, and is certainly the most extensive, knowledge and understanding on this critical subject.

It is impractical to list all the possible costumes and disguises and analyse each one for a final diagnosis in this blog. However, as a service to the community, I will excerpt a few entries from my, soon to be published book, Faeces Unmasked. The book contains all the popular disguises and their interpretations as well as a long chapter disclosing what all our favourite leaders dressed up as when they were small and how their choices can be linked to their current flaws.

Arab Terrorist:
While the actual disguise might be somewhat tasteless in the current circumstances the sentiment is perfect and that is what this is all about. Utter and selfless determination combined with blind obedience and a tendency to go out with a bang. Way to go.

A very worrying disguise. Haman represents all that is evil in the Purim story. He was also made famous in the Book of Esther for having had ten awful children, a shrewish wife and chronic over confidence. You have to be seriously disturbed to want to be all that.
I suggest urgent counselling for the parents and vigorous screening of all the children in the family. If it is your neighbour’s child write his name down and make sure he does not marry any of your friends’ daughters.

King Ahasuarus:
This man is greed personified. After all if we were to go around choosing a bride the way he did…
That said, he certainly came out the big winner in this story. This is an enigmatic choice and can only be classified in combination with a previous or later disguise.

The Rebbe:
This is one of the most popular costumes for boys in the eight-to-eighty age group. In fact it is one of the few disguises that can be quite convincing. It has been whispered by some malicious gossipmongers that there are versions of this disguise that have been around for years with none the wiser. A contention by its very nature difficult to discount. It is relatively harmless to the wearer.

This is generally a very positive disguise. Mordechai was a powerful leader who got the better of Haman and got to ride around town on a white horse. Very regal and messianic and exactly what we want to see from our youth. The ideal Mordechai will be wearing colourful robes and have a handsome moustache and pointed beard pencilled in.
If combined with a bekishe and long white beard see also Rebbe.

Queen Esther:
Every well brought up chassidishe girl should want to be Queen Esther. She had a crown. She had lots of servants and no children. She had a husband who loved her and another who couldn’t. She saved her entire people and best of all she told Mordechai what to do.
Sounds like the epitome of all we stand for. Be proud!

If your son wants to dress-up as her; we all have our share of troubles. I suggest you will want to ask your GP for referral to someone good and understanding.
It might be worth considering banning those Chevre CDs from the house and to rethink the Friday mikve visits when Zeese Yingele is around

Not a very encouraging choice. Not religious and perceived as a
bit of a bully. I would not be surprised to find a Haman in one of the preceding years.
See also washerwoman.

Dressing-up, unlike dressing down, has always been popular with the chassidishe mothers. I love walking the streets of the Hill on purim watching the families pouring out of their mini-cabs in their home-sewn costumes; make-up smeared and sagging packages filled with home-made arbess and oddangular hamantashen, leaving the bemused Iranian driver to find a parking. If only the mothers knew the signs they would not be beaming so proudly as their little time-bombs drop their packages off and stand waiting awkwardly for their purim-gelt.

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