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Esther is initially called Hadassah (Esther 2:7). Why does she change her name, ostensibly even before she is brought to the king's harem?

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    What evidence do you have that she ever changed her name? You for instance have two names: vram and ichangedmyid. Perhaps she had two names as well?
    – Double AA
    Dec 12, 2012 at 4:15
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    A simple reading of that text would imply that she was known by two different names, much as many American Jews have two names, one Hebrew and one "American".
    – LazerA
    Dec 12, 2012 at 4:20
  • @DoubleAA doesnt ichangedmyid show that there was a change of name/id ;)
    – Yehuda
    Dec 12, 2012 at 13:40
  • ...and even if she did change her name, how do you know which came first? The verse only says "Hadasa, who is Ester".
    – msh210
    Dec 12, 2012 at 15:17

5 Answers 5

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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 about her family).

See the Gemara there for more views.

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    How does this at all show that her name changed?
    – Double AA
    Dec 12, 2012 at 14:08
  • @DoubleAA Her name doesnt change, a nickname was added according to the Gemara. The OP has got it wrong.
    – Yehuda
    Dec 12, 2012 at 15:44
  • (That's not surprising considering he brought no basis for his question.)
    – Double AA
    Dec 12, 2012 at 17:16
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    @DoubleAA agreed, but with a slight edit his question can be made to ask why did she have two names?
    – Yehuda
    Dec 12, 2012 at 18:46
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Haddasah was her hebrew name she changed her name to Esther which is Persian, as is Mordechai, to either hide her Jewish identity or, more likely since the megillah was written by her and Mordechai, to show that she has a sense of nationalism.

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    Can you source this interesting position?
    – Double AA
    Dec 12, 2012 at 17:39
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Her name was changed under Babylonian captivity. They didn't have a choice (openly). The same as Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael(Meshach), and Azaraiah(Abednego).

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    A source would improve the quality of this answer, especially since the examples you mention are cases where the king renamed them once they joined his court. Nov 24, 2015 at 8:31
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She went by Esther in the palace because Mordechai told her to not reveal she was a Jew. The name Hadassah is a Jewish name and would have given her away.

(See Megillah 13a)

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    You seem to be misunderstanding: רבי יהודה אומר הדסה שמה ולמה נקראת שמה אסתר על שם שהיתה מסתרת דבריה שנאמר אין אסתר מגדת את עמה. It doesn't mean that 'Ester' was the name she used to hide her identity, rather it means that the narrator refers to her as Ester, in reference to the fact that she hid her nationality.
    – mevaqesh
    May 17, 2017 at 15:29
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Hadassah it's a name with 11 variant depending where you are in the world: Astera, Asti, Astra, Estella, Esther, Etoile, Hadassah( Bride, star, Queen), Hester, Stella. She knew her destiny, She was not supposed to pass there as "slave Jewish girl- Hadassah". The covenant of God with them in that time demanded that Her name be translated in Greek in order for her to be selected at the contest so the uncle took the name Haddassah (in Hebrew) change it to Esther (In Greek). But it is the same and one name.

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    Have you any support for this claim?
    – msh210
    Dec 10, 2014 at 6:43

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