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What Does the Name Hadassah Mean?

What Does the Name Hadassah Mean?

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The name Hadassah (Heb. הדסה) was one of the names of Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, and is now given to Jewish girls.

The name is of biblical origin, first cited in the Scroll of Esther (2:7), “And [Mordechai] had raised Hadassah, she is Esther . . .”

The name Hadassah is derived from the Hebrew word hadas (Heb. הדס), a myrtle tree from the Myrtaceae family. The myrtle has a pleasant fragrance. Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer Edels, known as Maharsha, explains that since “man is like a tree of the field.”1 therefore the righteous2 are called myrtles, likened to a good tree with a pleasant smell.3

The Talmud explains why Queen Esther was also called Hadassah:

Why was she called Hadassah? Because the righteous are called myrtles. As it states (Zechariah 1:8), “And he was standing among the myrtles [the righteous prophets Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah].”4

The sages in the Midrash take this one step further:

Just as a myrtle has a sweet smell and a bitter taste, so too Esther was good and listened (“sweet”) to the righteous Mordechai, and was adverse (“bitter”) to the wicked Haman.5

According to Kabbalah, each of her names corresponds to a different spiritual level.

The name Hadassah represents righteousness. As such, it corresponds to a heavenly sphere representing G‑d’s infinity. The name Esther (Heb. אסתר) is derived from the Hebrew word hester (Heb. הסתר), which means “hiddenness,” and corresponds to a spiritual plane representing hidden G‑dliness.

Interestingly, she is referred to by both names—seemingly opposites.

According to Chabad philosophy, calling Queen Esther by both names represents the self-sacrifice she displayed in order to save the Jewish nation. A righteous woman, she brought G‑dliness down into the physical world, where G‑dliness is concealed.

We too can connect transcendent levels of G‑dliness with our world when we choose to do something righteous instead of following our desires.6

When choosing a name for one’s child, it’s important to think about what the name represents.

On this note, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, told the president of a local Hadassah, an international Jewish women’s organization:

Hadassah was the name of Queen Esther, who was not afraid to live among non-Jews and to show an example of how a Jew must be proud of his or her inheritance, and to live everyday life in the same direction, with happiness and much success.7

FOOTNOTES
1.

Deuteronomy 20:19; see Rashi on this verse.

2.

Tzaddik in Hebrew (pl. tzaddikim).

3.

Commentary of Maharsha to Talmud, Megillah 13a, s.v. al shem ha-tzaddikim.

4.

Talmud, Megillah ibid. The Talmud explains that Esther was also likened to a myrtle because of her physical appearance. The myrtle is not particularly tall or short; Esther was of average height.

5.

Esther Rabbah 6:5.

6.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (the Tzemach Tzedek), Derech Mitzvotecha, p. 159a; the Rebbe, Torat Menachem 5713, vol. 2, pp. 7ff.

7.

See Queen Esther—A Proud Jewish Woman.

Chana Raizel Zaklikowski is the proud parent of three: Motti, Meir & Shaina.
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Discussion (18)
May 26, 2014
Hi I added the name Hadassah to my first Hebrew name Havivah for spirtuall and healing purposes.
I have been sick for a while and a local Chabad Rabbi and his wife recommended that I add a name to my first Jewish name Havivah. I did this almost two years ago for healing and spiritual purposes. Hadassah A.K.A Malka Esther was always my hero and role model my whole life and felt this would be the perfect name to add to bring down Hadassah's bravery, courage, and healing in my life. I did this and can tell that all of the amazing qualities that the real Malka Esther had ( Hadassah) are manifesting in my life. I pray just like the real Myrle plant that grows in muddy waters and turns into a beautiful flower like the lotus in her merit and bravery I should do the same if it is G-ds will. May the real Hadassah's light and courage be an example for all of Hashem's children! Peace and Blessings
Hadassah
Brookline Ma
April 5, 2014
Thanks very much for the clarrification on this name Hadassah. My daughter's name is Hadassah and I was wondering how this name is valued. I really admire this name.
Luke Kautoga
Coral Coast, Fiji Island
April 3, 2014
thanks for the information
my daughter's name is Hadassah
Anonymous
bahamas
March 14, 2014
Thank you very much for sharing the meaning of Hadassah, now I understand more my calling, and the impact we can be if we really let our Father develop our lives in order to spell a good fragange, and be aware to distroy the enemy's plans!
Beatriz
USA
February 21, 2014
Symbol of Righteousness
my daughter's name is Hadassah Grace . . .
C. Mwinamo
December 10, 2013
Thanks so much for the insight. Never new the meaning was deep like this. Indeed we are to find the meaning of names before we give them to our children. I really appreciate the help. May God bless you in abundance. Can you please give me the detail meaning elizabeth. My middle name is that.
Georgina
November 6, 2013
I'm naming my baby girl Hadassah Grace. it is beautiful the the meaning is just amazing :)

In love with my hadassah
andrilis
boston
November 5, 2013
overwhelming...
To name your baby hadassa kate
esther
dordrecht
November 2, 2013
I'm going to name my baby Hadassah Kate
Anonymous
Houston
October 30, 2013
hadas2esther
I was thought my name was persian for queen of heaven. Now i am relieved to know the real truth about my first name. Toda raba.
Esther
Dordrecht
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