ESTHER (pseudonym of Malkah Lifschitz, whose names by marriage were Frumkin and Wichmann; 1880–1943), communist leader, writer, and educator, born in Minsk; one of the most original women in the Jewish labor movement. She acquired a wide Jewish knowledge in childhood, including Hebrew and Bible studies, and studied in St. Petersburg and Berlin. From 1896 Esther was active in Social Democrat circles in Minsk influenced by A. Liessin , and from 1901 in the bund . She edited Bundist periodicals after the 1905 revolution. A representative of the extreme Yiddishists at the czernowitz yiddish conference , Esther was one of the main promoters in the Bund of Jewish education in Yiddish. She published two books on the subject in Yiddish: "On the Question of the Jewish National School" (1910) and "What Kind of National School Do We Need" (1917). She was imprisoned several times for revolutionary activities and went to Switzerland, where she became a member of the foreign committee of the Bund. After the 1917 February Revolution, she became a member of the central committee of the Bund, and was elected to the Minsk municipal and community councils. She took an active part in founding a network of Yiddish schools, courses for teachers, and other educational institutions. At first violently opposed to the Bolsheviks, she later became a leader of the Kombund, and in May 1921 voted for the self-liquidation of the Bund and joined the Communist Party. From 1921 to 1930 she was a member of the education department of the yevsektsiya . With M. Litvakov she brought out a Yiddish edition of Lenin's writings in eight volumes, and wrote a biography of Lenin in Yiddish (3 eds., 1925–26). She also edited the Moscow Yiddish daily, Emes. She was rector of the Jewish section of the "Communist University of the National Minorities of the West" (KUNMZ) from 1925 to 1936. In January 1938 she was arrested and imprisoned but refused to admit to the false charges proffered against her. In August 1940 she was sentenced to eight years in detention and died in the detention camp in Karaganda. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Schwarz, The Jews in the Soviet Union (1951), index; LNYL, 1 (1956), 141–3. (Moshe Mishkinsky / Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.) ESTHER, ADDITIONS TO THE BOOK OF The Book of Esther in the Septuagint, followed by the Old Latin version, contains six passages comprising 107 verses that are not found in the Hebrew text. In the fourth century C.E., jerome , when compiling the Latin Vulgate Bible, removed all these additions and grouped them as an appendix at the end of the Book of Esther. Although Jerome had provided notes to indicate where each addition belonged within the canonical book, subsequent scribes sometimes neglected to copy the explanatory notes, resulting in a meaningless combination of separate portions. The confusion was compounded in the 13th century   when Stephen Langton, having divided the text of the Vulgate into chapters, numbered the chapters of the canonical and the apocryphal portions of Esther consecutively. Rearranged in their proper order and with chapter and verse numbering according to Jerome's sequence, the six additions are as follows: A (11:2–12:6), Mordecai saves King Artaxerxes' life; B (13:1–7), the edict of Artaxerxes ordering the massacre of the Jews; C (13:8–14:19), the prayers of Mordecai and Esther; D (15:1–6), Esther risks her life to appeal to the king; E (16:1–24), Artaxerxes' second edict, denouncing Haman and supporting the Jews; F (10:4–11:1), the interpretation of Mordecai's dream. These additions belong within the sequence of the canonical text as follows: A before 1:1; B after 3:13; C and D after 4:17; E after 7:12; F after 10:3. The author (or authors) of the additions is unknown, but probably at least some of them were composed by Lysimachus, an Alexandrian Jew who lived in Jerusalem and who translated the canonical Hebrew text of Esther into Greek about 114 B.C.E. (11:1). Although the name of God does not appear in the canonical Book of Esther, all but one of the additions contain it. Likewise, although prayer is not mentioned in the canonical text, addition C includes two devout prayers. Thus it appears that one of the purposes of the expansions is to introduce into the book certain religious elements that are conspicuously absent from the Hebrew narrative. Occasionally the additions contradict statements in the canonical text. For example, according to the Hebrew, Mordecai discovered the plot against the king sometime after the seventh year of the reign of Ahasuerus (Esther 2:16–21), whereas addition A suggests that this occurred in the second year of the king's reign; in 16:10 Haman is called a Macedonian, whereas in Esther 3:1 he is called the Agagite (= Amalekite); and in 13:6 the date set for the massacre of the Jews is the fourteenth of Adar, whereas in Esther 3:13 it is the thirteenth of Adar. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Schuerer, Gesch, 3 (1909), 449–52; J.A.F. Gregg, in: Charles, Apocrypha, 1 (1913), 665–84; R.H. Pfeiffer, History of New Testament Times, with an Introduction to the Apocrypha (1949), 304–12; B.M. Metzger, Introduction to the Apocrypha (1957), 55–63. (Bruce M. Metzger)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Esther — 1 Esther 2 Esther 3 Esther 4 Esther 5 Esther 6 Esther 7 Esther 8 Esther 9 Esther 10 …   The King James version of the Bible

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  • Esther — fem. proper name, in O.T., wife of the Persian king Ahasuerus, from Gk. Esther, from Heb. Ester, from Pers. sitareh star, related to Avestan star (see STAR (Cf. star)) …   Etymology dictionary

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