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Sotah, 9


QUESTION: The Mishnah says that Shimson sinned with his eyes by being lured by the beauty of a foreign woman and marrying her. How could Shimshon, a Shofet, judge, of Yisrael, about whom the Gemara (10a) says judged the people of Yisrael like Hashem judges them, have committed such a sin?

ANSWER: The RAMBAM (Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 13:14-16) asks this question. He explains that Shimshon converted his wife before he married her. Why, then, did his parents protest, and why does the Mishnah chastise him?

The Rambam explains that the Gerus was not performed by a properly ordained Beis Din. A proper Beis Din would first investigate to see whether there were ulterior motives for the Gerus. Shimshon, though, converted the women in the presence of a Beis Din Shel Hedyotos, and the women whom he converted were only Megayer in order to marry him. Therefore, they were still prohibited to him. In addition, the Rambam adds that in the end it became clear that they had ulterior motives and had no true intentions to be Megayer, and in such a case the Gerus is not considered valid, since they never really accepted the Mitzvos (Shimshon, though, thought that they would accept the Mitzvos).

Why, then, did Shimshon try to convert these women and accept them as Gerim when it involved such a questionable Gerus? The commentators (see KEREN ORAH) explain that in order to bring the world to its final Tikun and the Ge'ulah Sheleimah, the nations of the world all have to come to recognize the role of Klal Yisrael and their closeness to Hashem, and try to attach and humble themselves to Klal Yisrael. Shimshon -- who judged Klal Yisrael "k'Echad," like Hashem, as our Gemara says, and in the manner of David ha'Melech (like Rashi says in the Chumash) -- had the potential to bring about the Ge'ulah just like the Malchei Beis David and Mashi'ach ben David. In order to do that, though, he knew that he would have to subjugate the nations to Klal Yisrael, and that is what he attempted to do by taking these wives from foreign nations. David ha'Melech had a similar intent when he married women ("Eshes Yefas To'ar") taken during the wars that he fought (see Sanhedrin 21b). This was also Shlomo ha'Melech's intention when he married the daughter of Pharaoh and the other foreign wives whom he converted. (This is similar to what Chazal tell us abotu Ovadyah ha'Navi, who prophesized the downfall of Edom because he himself was a convert from Edom.)

Even though we know that Mashi'ach must come from the tribe of Yehudah and from the House of David, (as Yakov Avinu hinted in his blessing for Yehudah), the tribe of Dan always has a part in the Tikun together with Yehudah. We find this joint effort with regard to the Mishkan, which was built by Ahali'av (from Dan) together with Betzalel (from Yehudah). Similarly, the Beis ha'Mikdash was built by Chiram (from Dan (maternally) -- Divrei ha'Yamim II 2:13, and Radak to Melachim I 7:14)), together with Shlomo ha'Melech (from Yehudah).

This is further implied by the fact that both Yehudah (in Yakov's blessing) and Dan (in Moshe's blessing) were compared to "Gur Aryeh," a lion. The Beis ha'Mikdash (Midos 4:7) and Hashra'as ha'Shechinah in general (Hoshe'a 11:10; Amos 3:8) are compared to the power of a lion. (The Evil Inclination that directly opposes Hashem's worship in the Mikdash, i.e. that of Avodah Zarah, is also represented by a lion, see Sanhedrin 64a. This, perhaps, is what is alluded to by Shimshon ripping apart a lion with his hands and a beehive filled with sweet honey forming in its carcass.)

Therefore, Shimshon -- from Dan -- wanted to take part in bringing the Mashi'ach. The Midrash says that Yehudah is the most spiritually uplifted of the tribes and Dan is the least, and in order to build the Mishkan and the Beis ha'Mikdash, the two of them must work together. (M. Kornfeld)

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