As we all know, wearing masks on Purim is a Mitzva. Is it from the Torah, or was it only originated in the times of Esther, making it Rabbinic?
closed as too localized by Isaac Moses Mar 12 '12 at 5:13
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So in answer to the question, it is Rabbinic but limited to those who are not drinking the amount that any sane person should drink on Purim and it was instituted after Esther's time in the middle ages of the Second Commonwealth.
"Little Known and Obscure "Factoids" Regarding Origins of Customs in the Rabbinic Period"
By Dr. Markus Shapirus M.S.G.
Actually, it's not a Mitzva by itself, but it almost became one, as documented in this passage from Meigillat Esther (From Esther's Joy): Transcripts of Esther's Joyful Conversations in the Wake of the Shushan Salvation, by Hatach.*
So, although the original intention of Purim's originators was to require that Mishloach Manot be distributed in masks, specifically, that aspect of the Mitzva seems to have fallen by the wayside, leaving just the presents of food and drink. If the masks had stuck as a Mitzva, I'd probably classify it as a Rabbinic Mitzva with lots of Scriptural support.
* Meigillat Esther is out of print, thanks to the Yemini family's opposition to publishing these transcripts of unguarded moments, but I was B"H able to find a scan of the manuscript on FarsiBooks.org.
The Mitzva is similar to Cholent.
There is a verse which seems to prohibit it: "מסכה לא תעשו לכם אני יהוה אלהיכם" Therefore, the Tzedukim never made masks.
However, there is a Drasha which says that since the prohibition on making masks is placed close to the commandment to observe Pesach, one is only prohibited to make masks on Pesach.
Therefore, to show that we are not Tzedukim, we must make masks some point throughout the year.
Since there is a prohibition to make masks on Pesach, the classes on the Halachos banning masks must have begun thirty days beforehand - on Purim.
Therefore, on Purim everyone must make masks.
Moreover the Gematria of "The Masks" (130) * 3(for the amount of holes in a typical mask) is equal to the Gematria of Cholent (404) - 7 (for the amount of letters there) * 2 (the amount of times one eats cholent).
It actually originates from the time of the creation. As is well known (Mesechtas Brias HaOlam 35b) on Rosh HaShana of the year 1 Hashem made special clothing out of fig leaves for Adam and Eve. All the animals were laughing at the site of a clothed human. The question remains as to why then do we commemorate this story with dressing up on Purim? The Sefer "Bube Maisas" page 213 says that these fig leaves were worn until the day after Purim when Eve finally got around to making clothing out of Techeiles Ubutz.