In Search of Shimshon
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Parshat Naso describes the Nazir, a man or woman who voluntarily takes upon themselves three restrictions: They are forbidden to eat or drink grape products, their hair may not be cut and they may not be contaminated by a human corpse. 

The Haftorah from Shoftim, Chapter 13 recounts the story of Shimshon, whose mother was told by an angel even before his birth that he must live his life as a Nazir.


Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to stand in the territory of Dan “between Tzora and Eshtaol” (Shoftim/Judges 13:25), where Shimshon’s family lived as we traveled on a journey “In Search of the Plishtim”, beginning in Tel Bet Shemesh where “the spirit of God began to resound in Shimshon (Ibid)”.


One may ask why in Shoftim 13:24 the pasuk states: “The woman gave birth to a son and called him Shimshon”, without an explanation of where the name came from.


1. The name Shimshon is obviously from the root “Shemesh”, sun and therefore may not have needed a further explanation.


2. The sun was a Canaanite and mythological god and the Navi may not have wanted to associate with that allusion. The city of Bet Shemesh actually gets its name from the Sun god. I wonder how many residents of Bet Shemesh today are aware of that!


3. In the Gemara, Masechet Sotah 10a Rabbi Yochanan said: Shimshon is called by the name of God, as it is stated in Tehilim 84:12: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and honor: no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly”. Just as God protects the entire world, Shimshon protected Israel in his generation.


4. According to Maharsha, the suns rays can be harmful or beneficial. Shimshon’s activities helped the Jewish people and punished the Plishtim.


Since his mother knew what his mission would be she gave him the name Shimshon.


As we visited the cities of the Plishtim, we became increasingly aware of how small Israel is and how close the Plishtim lived to B’nai Yisrael.


Shimshon’s strength frightened the Plishtim but did not remove them and they continued to control the Land until the reigns of Saul and David.


We can learn from Shimshon the famous lesson from Pirkei Avot, The Ethics of Our Fathers: “Lo Alecha HaMlacha Ligmor”, “You are not required to complete the task, yet you are not free to withdraw from it”.