Posted on Feb 17, 2021 | 0 comments

Let’s continue……

So Esther kept her ‘Jewish’ identity hidden from the world around her. That brings up the time when others in the bible ‘hid’ their identity doesn’t it? Can you name a few? Let’s see….there was Moshe, Yosef, Sarai … just to name a few. Why would they need to stay hidden? Probably, the first and foremost reason would be survival, don’t you agree? Survival is at the core of every human being – and, I believe, God given. After all, the priority on God’s list is – LIFE (chai)! But what other reasons might there be?

The second thought that comes to my mind is ~ PURPOSE. Think about that – to ‘hide’ one’s true identity would be to fulfill a purpose for oneself or another. It is said that God works in mysterious ways…and so He does. Back to Esther.

Let’s examine her name a bit. She is called Esther in the Persian empire:

There was a Jewish man in Shushan the capital whose name was Mordechai, the son of Yair… from the tribe of Binyamin… He reared Hadassah, she is Esther, his uncle’s daughter, because she did not have a father or mother. The girl was beautiful of form and appearance, and when her parents died, Mordechai adopted her as his daughter. (Esther 2:5-7)

So we see right here that she has two names…why two names? Think of your own name…many are called by various names – I am known by … yes … “Pammy” by some of my oldest relatives … those who were a part of my life in the early years. Others call me Pamela, some Pam, and then of course there is Aunt, BFF, Sissy, and one very special name (which means so much more to me now than before) “Babe“.  Each of those names meant something different to each person. So it was with Esther. Those who called her Hadassah, truly knew her and were closest to her. Those who called her by the name Esther saw her another, more hidden side of her. Each name given in ancient days had meaning and children were named to live up to the meaning. Let’s take a peak at those meanings:

Hadas” is a myrtle, as the Talmud (Megillah 13a) explains:

Hadassah: myrtle leaves are sweet smelling, and used as a metaphor to describe righteous people.

Esther: from the root of “hester,” hidden, as she kept her words hidden (when she refused to disclose her nationality when chosen as queen). Also, it is similar to the Persian word “estehar” which means moon/crescent, a reference to her beauty; the nations would see her and say she is beautiful like the moon.

As we review those explanations in the Talmud and in other books, we see that these names reflect Esther’s beauty, her sweetness, and maybe most importantly, her hiddenness in a culture that defines each person in dramatic ways. As with Esther, we all seem to grope out way through life, going in and out of seasons where we must each hide ourselves from others ~ and sometimes ourselves ~ until there is clarity and light that illuminates our path.

Back to the facts….Esther, we are told, is Mordechai’s cousin and comes from the tribe of Binyamin (Benjamin) who is the son of Rachel.  She shared many characteristics of our matriarch, Rachel. In Genesis 29:17 we see that Rachel is described as one that is “beautiful of form and appearance” and her personality seems to also be a family trait as well. Like Rachel, Esther is also able to quite handily keep a secret. In Breishit Rabba 71:5 of the Midrash, it says about Rachel:

Rachel excelled in the art of silence (when keeping from Yaakov the switching of Leah at her wedding). And so did all her descendants hide information: Binyamin knew about the sale of Yosef and did not tell. Shaul: “and the matter of the (coronation to) kingship he did not tell.” Esther: “Esther did not tell of her birthplace or her nation.” (Midrash – Breishit Rabba 71:5)

In today’s world, silence or the ability to keep a secret is highly valued, especially when the reason for doing so is for a greater purpose. If you think about it, when you refuse to reveal private information you are releasing your ability to control events or manipulate circumstances, allowing a higher source to step in to bring things about as they should for that greater purpose.

So let’s stop right here and ponder on what we’ve read. Let’s apply it to you…and me. Each of us have at least two natures within that we struggle with on a daily basis. The side (or face) we show to others ~ our Esther, and the side (or face) that we hide from others ~ our Hadassah. Our Esther must deal with outside situations, precarious and sometimes harrowing circumstances that need us to rise above and beyond what many times we think we can handle. Our Esther must dress for success, for achievement, for purpose; while our Hadassah must permeate those situations with an aroma of sweetness, beauty and innocence. Our Hadassah must retain our essence of purity endeavoring our Esther to bring about a purpose greater than our own.

If that is confusing … then might I ask you to simply ponder on that throughout the day and ask the Holy One to reveal the hidden within you … with the one you know.

To be continued….

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