The Rabbis of the Talmud see the name Esther as derived from the Hebrew word Hester which means hidden. God is hidden by virtue of the fact that God's name does not appear once in the whole book. Mordecai instructs Esther to hide her identity as a Jew until she is called upon to save her people by risking her life and revealing herself.
When the dominant society isn't welcoming, it often is easier to "hide". Mordecai puts Esther in this uncomfortable position before there is any indication that the Jews are in jeopardy.
- Why would he do this? Can we imagine ourselves doing the same thing? Have we ever done something similar in our own lives?
- In Persian, Esther means "star", but in Hebrew, as we have mentioned, the Hebrew root could be "hidden". If Esther would ultimately reveal herself, did she have to hide at all?
- Has "hiding, or passing" ever been beneficial for us? What was its cost?
Traditionally, the Festival of Purim is called the holiday of hidden miracles. Isn't that a contradiction in terms?
- What constitutes a hidden miracle? Define it.
- Why is it important to have a book in Hebrew Scriptures that acknowledges hidden miracles?
- Describe a hidden miracle in your life.
- What do all hidden miracles have in common, including the ones in the Book of Esther?