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Shabbat Parashat Naso| 5770

Parashat Hashavuah: On Going to Yerushalayim, Unity, and Divine Spirit

Harav Yosef Carmel

The last pasuk of the haftara, about Shimshon, says that “the spirit of Hashem began l’fa’amo in the camp of Dan between Tzora and Eshta’ol.” Let us start by explaining the word l’fa’amo.

Rashi says that it means from time to time. In other words, the Divine Spirit came to him sporadically, which is a normal thing for prophecy (introduction to Moreh Nevuchim). The Radak gives two explanations: that the Spirit strengthened this warrior; that Yaakov’s prophecy about Shimshon started to ring out like a bell. The Ralbag said that like a bell, he oscillated between the ideas to attack the Plishtim and not to. Mahari Kara says that the Spirit would shake him, and the Metzudot says that it referred to movement, as pa’am can refer to legs.

The reference to the camp of Dan may hint at Yaakov’s prophecy about the tribe, which its tribesman, Shimshon, carried out (Radak). Tzora and Eshta’ol may hint at the actions of the Plishtim, as these were cities that bordered the region of that nation (Mahari Kara).

Let us now try to understand the significance of Shimshon’s actions. He was trying to extricate the Israelites from the grip of the Plishti dominance and win independence. As is important in matters of leadership throughout that period, was this leader from Leah or Rachel? Another point that is important to consider is whether he was able to create unity.  

The word l’fa’amo hints at both matters. The word is used about the practice of going to the Temple on the festivals so that all of the nation could be united in their service of Hashem. This indeed was a time when the Divine Spirit was most felt. Unity was also felt by means of Shimshon’s lineage. Shimshon drew strength from the special status of Dan, who was the firstborn of Rachel’s maidservant, Bilha. The tribe of Dan, which originally lived on the coastal plain moved northward and took a place they called Layish, as if to say that they are lions. This may hint that they get two portions, like Yosef, the firstborn of Rachel. However, Shimshon did not intend to usurp the special role of Yehuda, who is compared to a lion. Rather, he represented the joining of forces, as his father was from Dan, but his mother was from Yehuda (Bamidbar Rabba 10:5). The cities of Tzora and Eshta’ol also belonged to both Yehuda and Dan (see Yehoshua 15:31 and 19:41). Thus, there was a joining of forces between the sons of Rachel and those of Leah. With this distinction at his side, Shimshon was able to declare independence and freedom from foreign control.

Let us hope that also in our generation, the generation of “the beginnings of liberation,” we will be wise enough to strengthen the phenomena mentioned above. We hope to see the visitation of a unified (in all manners) Yerushalayim, involving the powers of all elements of the nation. That should hopefully merit us with the dwelling of the Divine Presence and a spirit of Hashem that will come upon our leaders.


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This week’s Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of

R' Meir ben
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld

Hemdat Yamim is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.


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