Why is there a Minhag to dress up in costumes on Purim?


3 Answers 3


One "popular" reason is that the entire נס of Purim was hidden and seemed very natural (i.e. no Hashgacha to it / Hashem's name not mentioned in the מגילה). We too hide ourselves to symbolize this.


One of the reasons mentioned why we disguise ourselves on Purim, is to highlight the concept that even the non Jews disguised themselves, pretending to be Jews. The Megila says:

"And many of the people of the land professed themselves to be Jewish, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them." (8:17)

They pretended to convert to Judaism, but didn't actually. We know this because the term used in that verse is "misyahadim," -- "Judaized," instead of "misgayarim," -- "converted." Since they masqueraded as Jews, thus the custom has arisen to masquerade ourselves on Purim, to commemorate this miracle, whereby a complete turnabout caused the Gentiles to fear us and not kill us, as they had originally planned.


The benei Isaschar says (Adar, Maamar 9:1) that as the jewish people bowed to Nevuchadnetsar externally Hashem also acted externally by making it seem as if there was a decree to destroy them. Hence, it is a custom to dress up on Purim to externally appear like non-jews.

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