I bet we’ve all experienced a classmate-turned-bestie the day of our birthday. I remember thinking at my eighth birthday party how if someone was watching my loyal “friend” hand out the donuts, they’d think we were BFFs. That was far from the truth; she was just my “birthday friend” for the day.
This little birthday misnomer happens all the time. It’s taught me to sometimes do a double take.
There’s usually more than what meets the eye, as even 20/20 vision has a limited range. Yet what meets the eye is usually what compels us to search for more. If we would be satisfied by the simplicity or perfection of what we saw, we wouldn’t look deeper.
Like the time my friend was giving me the cold shoulder. While on the verge of hurt, I reminded myself that maybe there was something more behind her behavior. In fact, there was.
Or the time that I applied for a gap year program only to get rejected. I cried for days on end, only to be redirected to something more fitting.
Moshe asks Hashem for the simplicity and mind's eye clarity. He begs, “Show me Your ways, so that I can find favor in Your eyes.” Hashem replies, “One shall not see My face and remain alive.” To have true vitality in life, we have to explore and delve beyond the surface value.
This is a recurring occurrence. Like when reading between the lines of my child’s “today was okay” and my teen’s “I don’t care that my friends didn’t invite me.” Sometimes, it’s also about probing beyond me and my feelings to seek G-d in my daily grind, finding myself as an individual, or even just learning something for my soul and adding meaning to my day.
Then there are times when I have to probe deeper, to find clarity amidst the confusion or solace beyond the suffering. Sometimes, it doesn’t all tie neatly in a bow. Not always do we reach the core of reason.
Even in such instances, the point of the dissension is that we find harmony within it, that we realize that there’s more than meets the eye. Hashem sends us these messages subliminally. Hidden in the scrolls of the climactic Purim story, disguised as the king, Hashem reminds us, “Hey, you, take a second glance. I’m right here running the show.” Though there’s no apparent mention of Hashem in the Purim story, He’s cloaked amongst the text.
He’s there. Hashem is telling us to look beyond, to look for Him. Because though life may be infinitely more complex with duality, it fosters growth, meaning, and connection.
Yes, you can read the Purim story as a natural progression of years, but without finding Hashem in the happenings, it loses its meaning. Its magical touch.
And like the bystanders, watching my birthday helper at my party, you may mistaken what’s really going on. Because, after all, there’s more than meets the eye.
Chaya Silver is passionate about continuously learning and finding meaning in the mundane.