Esther & Achashverosh

In the Purim story, how do we understand that Mordechai handed over Esther to Achashverosh? I remember in the synagogue years ago, no one could agree on just what their relationship was. But I have read on a few occasions that Esther was Mordechai's wife. So what's the story?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Although it is not explicit in the Megillah, the Talmud does say that Esther was Mordechai's wife. So how could Mordechai hand his wife over to be raped by Achashverosh? Indeed, how could he hand her over even if she were not his wife?!

The fact is that Mordechai did not hand her over. Achashverosh's representatives went from door to door kidnapping every pretty girl, single or otherwise. Needless to say, Esther was hidden, but the king's guards found her.

Esther refused to apply makeup or perfume in the hope that the king would find her unattractive and would send her home - but to no avail. Among all the women in his vast kingdom, he chose her to be queen!

Further, Mordechai instructed Esther not to tell anyone about her heritage as a descendant of King Saul, so that Achashverosh, thinking her a plebeian, would have no interest in her. This ruse was unsuccessful as well.

At the end of the day, though, Esther was the key to saving the Jewish people from annihilation. Apparently things worked out as they were supposed to.

More Questions


Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. Note that this is not a homework service!

Ask the Aish Rabbi a Question

See More

Receive the Aish.com Daily Features Email

Sign up to our Daily Email Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy