As myrrh (mor) is the foremost of spices so Mor-decai was the foremost of the righteous in his generation (Esther Rabbah 2.5)

Mordecai raised Esther. She had been named Hadassah (myrtle) because as the myrtle spreads fragrance, so she spread good works throughout the entire land. She was also named Hadassah because the righteous are compared to myrtle, like Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, of whom it is said: "And he stood among the myrtle trees" (Zechariah 1.8). She was also named Hadassah because, as the myrtle does not wither in summer or winter, so the righteous do not perish but have a share in this world and in the world to come. Esther remained the same in her youth and in her old age and never ceased from doing good.

She was called Esther, because she was like the planet Venus, which in Greek is Astara. (II Targum 2.6,7)



From: Philip Goodman, The Purim Anthology, Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1988 pages 126-27




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