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Samson, Judges 16:13


Rabbi David Sperling

Adar II 10, 5779
Shalom Rav, In judges 16:3 it says that samson took doors of the gates of the city,two poles to the hevron. it seems very strange to me. what is happening here ? what is the significance of doors,gates,poles and carrying to hevron.? thank you rav in advance.
Shalom, Thank you for your question. The learning of Tanach is a never ending process of finding deeper and deeper meaning and revelations. The section you are referring to (Judges 16) talks about Samson going down to Gaza. The commentators explain that Samson was trying to provoke the Philistines into war, so he could have an excuse to beat them. He went down to Gaza, and without disclosing that he himself was Samson, he spread rumors that Samson had come to town (verse 2). After searching for him, they decided to lock the city gates and ambush Samson when he left town. On finding the gates locked Samson used his special strength to uproot the entire structure and carried it away with him. Wanting to instill in the enemy as much fear as possible, he took the gates up to the top of a high hill overlooking Hebron with the motive of creating a public spectacle. The hill was not in Hebron itself, which is quite a distance from Gaza, but rather a high mountain which although distant from Habron, nevertheless overlooked it (Daat Sofrim). You are correct that there must be some significance in the details – for example Talmud (Sotah 10a) says “It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon the Pious said: The width between the shoulders of Samson was sixty cubits, as it is stated: “And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and grabbed hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron” (Judges 16:3). The verse indicates that the width of the gate of the city of Gaza was equal to the width of Samson’s shoulders, and it is learned as a tradition that doors of the gate of Gaza were no less than sixty cubits wide.” Here the commentators explain that this is not be taken literally, but rather the number 6 – of the 60 cubits – indicates a fullness (as in the 4 compass directions plus up and down), and full strength (Maharal). I hope this is of some help - Blessings.
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