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Embracing Ani Hasodi: Unveiling the True Self האני הסודי
  • Community
  • Jewish Life
  • Shinshinim

An explanation of the Purim-themed Sha’ar CJDS by Director of Campus Life Hagit Lewis...

In our CJDS community, we endeavor to cultivate an atmosphere where every individual feels empowered to share their secret self, their "Ani Hasodi"  האני הסודי. Through our exploration, we have come to understand that the mask, or "masecha" מסכה in Hebrew, traditionally associated with concealing one's identity, actually serves as a gateway to revealing our talents, strengths, and unique identities.

When we typically envision a "masecha" our minds may conjure images of superhero masks, supervillain disguises, or even the face coverings necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, delving deeper into the teachings of the "Megilah," we uncover a more profound interpretation of the mask – one that extends beyond its physical manifestation. It becomes symbolic of the masks we wear to hide our true selves, our emotions, and our ideas.

Through the narrative of the "Megillat Ester" מגילת אסתר we encounter characters like Hadassah, who concealed her Jewish identity, Biktan and Teresh, who concealed their nefarious intentions, and Haman, who obscured his true motives. In reflecting on these stories, we recognize parallels in our own lives, where we may hide our vulnerabilities to project strength or suppress our opinions to conform.

The title of the book we read during Purim "Megillat Ester" holds significance in its etymology. The word "Megillah" מגילה and the word "gilui" גילוי meaning revealing, while "Ester" אסתר derives from "seter," סתר signifying hiding. Thus, the contrast of these terms captures the central theme of our exploration – the journey from hiding to reveling.

In embracing our "Ani Hasodi," shinshinim Ronnie and Sahar led an activity with the students to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Together they unveil their true selves and empower others to do the same. Together with the students we foster a community where authenticity is celebrated, and every individual is valued for their unique contributions.

Through our collective efforts, we can create a community where masecha are discarded, and the true essence of every individual shines brightly.