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This would have to begin with Micah 6:8: והצנע לכת עם א-להיך, "be tzanua in walking with your G-d" (this is one of only two instances of this root in Tanach, the other being in Prov. 11:2, ואת צנועים חכמה). The Gemara (Sukkah 49b and Rashi there) explain this as referring to mitzvos done in public, like funerals and weddings; even these need to be done with ...


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


R' Ari Zivotofsky has a nice article on this subject, explaining the possible reasons for this misconception: http://www.ou.org/torah/article/tzarich_iyun_mordechai_and_esther


It appears that the Tannaim Reb Meir and Reb Yehudah (and others) dealt with this question in Megilla 13a. Rabbi Meir said: her name was Esther; why was she called Hadassah? Because of the Righteos Tzaddikim who are called Haddasim. Rabbi Yehuda said: her name was Hadassah; why was she called Esther? Because she hid her words (the information ...


Haman and the King were the guests. However, as nobility there were servants and "members of the staff" there. The modern concepts of privacy did not exist in those days. Consider that a noble would be able to sit down without considering if a chair was there, because one would "miraculously" appear under him. Thus, Charvonah was standing there waiting to be ...


Malbim explains (as I think is pshat in pesukim) that Ester was just found in her house, but he was her adopted father, and might have just picked her off the street; she could have been from anywhere. Achashveirosh did have him hang around and give him gifts though, to influence Ester to say who her real parents/origin was when she would see how well ...


See the commentary of the Ibn Ezra on Esther 8:1 (page 30 in the linked document) where he says that Mordechai was Esther's uncle.


To respond only to your second question, there is a relevant passage in the gemara on Sanhedrin 74b. An objection is raised that concerns how Esther could have submitted herself publicly to Ahashverosh when we learn that it is better to die than to commit the sin of 'forbidden relations'. The terse resolution of Abayye is to suggest that "Esther was like the ...

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