What Was Her Real Name?

In Chapter 2 sentence 7 of Megillat Ester, we read that Mordechai “brought up Hadassa, that is Ester”.


The Gemara in Megillah 13a notes: The verse calls her Hadassa and the verse calls her Ester. Which was actually her name?


It was taught in a Braita: Rabbi Meir said that her name was actually Ester. And why was she called Hadassa (Myrtle)? After the designation of the righteous who are called myrtles.


The Braita also presents an opposite approach: Rabbi Yehuda says: Her name was actually Hadassa. And why was she called Ester (hidden)? Because she used to conceal the facts about her origins, by not revealing that she was Jewish.


A third approach brought by the Braita: Rabbi Nechemya says: Her name was actually Hadassa. And why was she called Ester? Because the nations of the world used to call her Ester, naming her after the moon, as if to say that she is as beautiful as the moon.


A fourth approach in the Braita: Ben Azzai says: Ester was neither tall nor short but of average height like a Hadas (myrtle). Therefore, though her true name was Ester, she was called Hadassa.


The last explanation in the Braita: Rabbi Yehoshua ben Karcha says: Though her true name is Ester, Ester was of greenish complexion, like a Hadas (Myrtle). However she was endowed with a touch of grace by God which made her appear beautiful to the nations and to Achashverosh.


It seems that Hadassa was her Hebrew name and Ester was her Persian name and that each name had a lot of significance.


When a baby is born many parents put a tremendous amount of thought into the significance of the child’s names and the impact that it will have on their lives.