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The Gemara Chullin (139b) writes

מרדכי מן התורה מנין דכתיב (שמות ל, כג) מר דרור ומתרגמינן מירא דכיא - Where is Mordechai in the Torah? It says myrrh, which is translated as 'mira dachya'.

What is the connection between myrrh and Mordechai that the gummy tree resin is his origin in the Torah?

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    Rabbi Daniel Feldman addressed this in a class on humor that I heard from YUTorah. It was derech agav to a story about him being at a summer camp & being asked to speak about the recently shown film Aladdin. He found a source in Torah thought for Aladdin. – Ze'ev misses Monica Mar 9 '20 at 16:41
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    See Mahril Diskin – sam Mar 9 '20 at 16:41
  • See Likutei Emunas Itechah of Rav Moshe Wolfson Shlit"a – Purim, pp. 121-123. – MosheMoskowitz Mar 1 at 21:44
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One answer 1 is based on a Midrash 2, which expounds the verse: מי יתן טהור מטמא, who will bring out purity from the impure 3. The Midrash brings many examples of such a concept, such as Avraham, who was the son of the idol worshipping Terach, and King Chizkiyahu who was the son of the wicked Achaz. One example the Midrash gives is Mordechai, who descended from the sinner Shimi 4. This shows one of the strengths of Mordechai. Even though he came from an impure place, through his abilities he was able to become pure.

Where is such a concept hinted to in the Torah? According to the Rambam 5, among others 6, the mor dror. They translate it as “musk”, the congealed blood found in the throat of a well-known animal in India. It’s similar to a deer, one of its characteristics being that it’s free roaming 7. Even though the mor came from the blood of an impure animal, it ended up becoming one of the primary ingredients in the incense and anointing oil.


1 Chasam Sofer says this idea in Toras Moshe I to Exodus 30:23. However, he doesn’t cite the Midrash, which is the main justification for calling Shimi impure. The Chasam Sofer has another justification for this connection, as he calculates approximately five hundred years between Shimi and Mordechai, and the verse says the number five-hundred after mentioning the mor dror

2 Bamidbar Rabbah 19:1; Midrash Tanchuma Chukas § 4

3 Job 14:4

4 See II Samuel Chapter 16

5 Mishneh Torah Hilchos Klei HaMikdash 1:3

6 Rav Saadiah Gaon, Ibn Ezra, and Rabbeinu Bachaye ad. loc.; Abarbanel

7 Rabbeinu Bachaye loc. cit. See there for two explanations of dror

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according to some ....

mordechai was like a ketoeress which is infinite and powerful to break all opponents

hence...this ingredient is found in the ketoeress to show this power he had

maharal in preface to ohr chodosh

yosef lekach ...posuk 9’23 (megilla)

maharsha...chullin 139b

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    Thank you for your answer. Who suggests this? What does it mean that Mordechai and the Ketores are infinite. Sounds a little odd...what does it mean the Ketores beats all enemies. – robev Jun 9 '20 at 14:27
  • i will post later the source – user19400 Jun 9 '20 at 14:39
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    So why this ingredient as opposed to the other 10? – Heshy Jun 9 '20 at 14:48
  • interestingly, it has been claimed that frankincense was successful in curing coronavirus in many Israelis. ketoret really does help – KapinKrunch Jun 9 '20 at 19:59
  • heshy.... gemara in megilla says more drorr (mara dachya).......rosh. lecol habsomim – user19400 Jun 10 '20 at 2:01

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