Question:

In Esther 2-3,

  1. Is maiden referring to age, marriage status, or virginity?
  2. Were the maidens in the first house also virgins?
  3. Were married women also taken to the king?
  4. Were virgins collected only of a certain age?

Answer:

  1.  The word “maidens” in this verse is specifically referring to virgins.
  2. The first house was for the virgins, before they went to the king and the second was for the concubines that were already by the king.
  3. Good Question. The Midrash Rabba (Esther 6-11, see Eitz Avos) says on the posuk “ And the king loved Esther from all the women, an she found favor in his eyes from all the virgins” that originally the decree was to bring all the virgins, but they also brought married women that were beautiful. Therefore even though she was married she was brought to the king.
  4. The Vilna Gaon 2-3 says that it was only for young girls and not old ones, (he doesn’t specify the age)

Tags: Esther megilah

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2 Responses to “In megillat esther, why differing descriptions of betulah and naara…”

  1. Thanks. Ears there a general age breakdown between actual levels of maturity from childhood through old age? For example what is generally thought of as infant age and then when does it become child and then when does it become youth and then when does it become young adult, adult, mature, at Cetera

    • For a female there are three halachic stages. A child, until she is 12, then when her body start to physically mature she is called a na’ara, and 6 months later she is called a bogeres, which is a full fledge adult.
      For boys there are only two stages.
      Aside from this there are different stages of mental maturity during childhood, when the child is ready to be taught various mitzvos.

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