Thursday, March 1, 2018

Purim: Mordechai and Esther, The Rebel and The "Sleeper"

One of the great things about the Hebrew language is that pretty much every single combination of two or three letters can be understood as words.

Waiting to hear the Megilla, the Scroll of Esther
Chaz"al, our sages, have been debating and discussing the meanings of the two most crucial names in Megillat Ester, Mordechai and Esther. Most claim that neither are actual Jewish/Hebrew names. Maybe it's a bit chutzpadik of me to add my two cents 2¢ to the discussion, but very learned teachers and friends do respect my opinions, so here goes:
Megillat Ester, Chapter 2, Verse 7זוַיְהִ֨י אֹמֵ֜ן אֶת־הֲדַסָּ֗ה הִ֤יא אֶסְתֵּר֙ Hadassah, that is Esther
I agree with those who say that the name Esther/Ester is Hebrew/Jewish, not a version of "star." It is derived from the Hebrew linguistic root  סתר, s, t, r, which means hide. In the megillah narrative, Esther is planted as a spy, a "sleeper," by her uncle Mordechai. In the line in which she is introduced to us, I don't think that the הדס hadas, myrtle plant is used as a noun, name of the bush.  The myrtle is a hardy, evergreen plant. The fact that in the megillah, it's written with a ה "h" at the end to make it feminine, I consider it an adjective. So I'd translate it as:
"strong/hardy is Esther"
We have some myrtle in our garden, and they thrive in the most difficult of weather. Yes, that is very much like Esther who rose so magnificently to the challenges she was faced with.

Mordechai is considered by most as a totally non-Jewish, non-Hebrew name. It is even suggested that he is the Navi, Prophet Malachi. But I see a Hebrew name very clearly. Actually, so did Haman. Haman accused Mordechai of being rebellious. And what is the meaning for the first three Hebrew letters in מָרְדֳּכַ֛י Mordechai?
מרד mered, rebellion
Now go over Megillat Ester with this new information. What do you think?

Chag Purim Sameach!


Mr. Cohen said...

This quick blog post refutes the latest insanity from the Jewish Far-Left:

FOR PURIM: Refuting the Fans of Vashti:

Batya said...

Some people think that Vashti was the original #metoo.

Sammy Finkelman said...

That's on;y because of a midrash (maybe) that said the king wnated her to appear naked But the megillah says something else.

I guess they also make Vashti a female hero because the argument foir the decree against her was very anti-feminist. But that has nothing to do with Vashti.

Sammy Finkelman said...

If Hadassah is not a name that would be anotehr big misunderstanding.

Batya said...

A lot of what people think is based on medrash, not the actual words. I've just spent almost a decade going over/learning pretty much all of Nach, and there isn't a female called Hadassah.