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How old was Esther when she was selected by Achashveirosh? I am familiar with the Yalkut (Esther 2:8) which offers ages up to 80 and seems to settle on 74/75 the numerical value of Haddasah, however this seems preposterous to be taken literally. Therefore I am looking other authoritative sources for her age.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Bereishit Rabbah 39:13 (39:4 in some edition) brings a machloket Rav and Shemuel if Esther was 40 or 80 years old respectively.

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that's pretty old to be the consort of the king – not-allowed to change my name Dec 18 '12 at 1:18
Why did she stay unmarried for so long? – Ariel Dec 18 '12 at 10:46
@Ariel Well, the Bavli says she was married to Mordochai. – Double AA Dec 18 '12 at 16:05
Yah, I've heard that but I always assumed it was the minority opinion because it clearly says in the megillah that they were looking for virgin maidens, and if she was married she wouldn't be (and I'm sure she would have told the soldiers that, since I doubt she wanted to go voluntarily). Plus if she was married that has huge implications for her going voluntarily to the king. Are you allowed to sin with Giluy Arayous in order to save someone? – Ariel Dec 18 '12 at 23:41
@ariel you are not allowed to sin with arayot to save someone. The gemara already asks both of your questions and has discussions about the answers. See megilla 13a and Sanhedrin 74b – Double AA Dec 18 '12 at 23:58

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