Presumably God could save the Jewish people without Esther, a married woman, becoming the wife of Achashverosh.

So why did He choose to bring the salvation in this fashion?

(although she was considered Ones (unintentional) but it still seems not the best way to do things unless there is a deeper reason.)

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    Mordechai and Esther were divorced
    – Dude
    Mar 23, 2016 at 17:57
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    Ibn Ezra holds that she was unmarried. The proof is that they collected all the virgins and took them to the palace. If she was married she would never have been taken. If so, what does it mean when the rabbis said "and he took her for a daughter" meant that he married her? Ibn Ezra answers that he intended to marry her in the future, but had not when she was collected.
    – Menachem
    Mar 23, 2016 at 22:21
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    That being said, your question obviously stands according to the opinions that she was married to Mordechai
    – Menachem
    Mar 23, 2016 at 22:21
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    The question holds (though weaker) even according to those who say she was single. cc @Menachem
    – msh210
    Mar 24, 2016 at 4:21
  • Is there adultery by a non Jewish man? (I think it is not so clear) becoming a wife is not adoltery anyway (only the act is forbidden and it seems they did not often get together. It seems it was an honor for her (and her family) to do this from this verce 4.14For if you remain silent at this time, relief and rescue will arise for the Jews from elsewhere ... But your question still hold
    – hazoriz
    Apr 14, 2016 at 17:28

2 Answers 2


The Talmud (Megilah 13A) does not reference the Hebrew word for wife, but the Hebrew word for someone in the inner family circle. In this regard, the Talmud here draws the comparison to 2 Sam 12:3, where Uriah the Hittite had groomed young Bathsheba to be his wife. The Greek Septuagint therefore translates the passage here in Esther as follows:

When her parents died, he [Mordecai] trained her [Esther] for himself as a wife.

Mordecai therefore did not take her as a wife, but took her into the inner family circle with the intent to groom and nurture her as she became older. Thus, at this time in the story, the description by Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, Chapter 6), the three separate Targumim of Esther, and the received Masoretic Text all indicate the relationship between Mordecai and Esther was like "father and daughter" rather than a consummated relationship between "husband and wife," which of course may have occurred later had not the story of Esther taken a twist.

  • thanks but some opinions do hold she was married right?
    – ray
    Apr 14, 2016 at 6:00
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    The gemara you reference, Megillah 13A, is rather explicit that it was a wife, and that "bayit" in this case means a wife. Thus, to quote from what you linked to: "A Tanna taught in the name of R`Meir: Read not 'for a daughter' [le-bath], but 'for a house' [le-bayith]. Similarly it says... But the poor man had nothing save one little ewe lamb, ... and it grew up together with him, and with his children... and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.(21) Because it lay in his bosom, was it like a daughter to him? Rather what it means is like a wife; so here, it means a wife." Apr 14, 2016 at 8:49
  • @joshwaxman - The tradition indicates that Mordecai took custody of Esther as a newborn baby (as Esther's mother, who was a widow, had died in childbirth), and so marriage of a newborn baby with Mordecai was not in view; instead, Esther had come into his "household," which is the Hebrew word le-bayed. As was the case with Uriah who had taken in Bathsheba into his household, the outlook for Esther was eventual marriage with Mordecai, which never happened as we saw how the story of Esther unfolded.
    – Joseph
    Apr 14, 2016 at 14:54
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    The text of the gemara states explicitly otherwise Apr 14, 2016 at 20:36
  • @joshwaxman - the gemara highlights the preposition ל in this passage, which means “for, in order to.” When you look at the similar passage of 2 Sam 12:3, the preposition כ appears, which means “as.” In other words, Mordecai took Esther to be his wife whereas Uriah took Bathsheba as his wife. When you look at the critical apparatus of the BHS for 2 Sam 12:3 you notice that medieval rabbis familiar with this oral tradition may have altered the כ to a ל to avoid the idea that Uriah took Bathsheba as wife when she was a baby.
    – Joseph
    Apr 14, 2016 at 22:06

Esther said in Tehillim, liphnei kelev yechidasi. Hashem you have bowed down before a dog (Achashveirosh) my yechidah (the most sublime part of the neshama).

So who is speaking (i.e. how can Esther talk about her neshamah as something owned by her and external to her)?

This implies that because of the situation Esther was forced into she was forced to expel herself from even the highest point of the representation of her neshamah in olam hazeh.

This was the key and lead to the salvation of the Jewish people who had corrupted olam ha'zeh with the physicality of avodah zarah, giluy arayos and shiphichus damim.

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    "liphnei kelev yechidasi" I can't find that line anywhere in Tanakh. Is this your own thoughts? If they are someone else's please tell us whose
    – Double AA
    Apr 14, 2016 at 3:07
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    @DoubleAA I assume he is referring to T'hillim 22:21 ("הַצִּילָה מֵחֶרֶב נַפְשִׁי מִיַּד כֶּלֶב יְחִידָתִי"), and his explanation of the verse (that Esther prayed that HaShem should save her soul from Achashveirosh) is similar to that found in M'gilla 15b ("א"ר לוי כיון שהגיעה לבית הצלמים נסתלקה הימנה שכינה אמרה אלי אלי למה עזבתני שמא אתה דן על שוגג כמזיד ועל אונס כרצון או שמא על שקראתיו כלב שנאמר הצילה מחרב נפשי מיד כלב יחידתי חזרה וקראתו אריה שנאמר הושיעני מפי אריה").
    – Fred
    Jul 13, 2016 at 8:24

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