Question: "And the child grew, and Hash-m blessed him" - in what was he blessed?
Answer (Rav Yehudah): His Ever was as big as a man's, and his semen was like a gushing river.
(Rav): "Hash-m, remember me... I will take vengeance for one of my two eyes, on the Pelishtim (who gouged them out)" - remember the 20 years I judged Yisrael, and I never told one of them to transport my staff for me. (Maharsha - I did not deserve blindness, for I did not take even a light bribe.)
Question: "Shimshon captured 300 foxes" (and used them to burn the fields of the Pelishtim). Why did he use specifically foxes?
Answer (R. Eivo bar Nagdi): A fox flees backwards. It is fitting to punish the Pelishtim, who went back on their oath (not to afflict Yisrael).
(Beraisa - R. Shimon ha'Chasid): Shimshon's shoulders spanned 60 Amos, for he carried the doors of the Azah gate on his shoulders.
We have a tradition that the doors were 60 Amos wide.
(R. Yochanan): "He would be Tochen (grind) in the jail" - this refers to Bi'ah;
Everyone brought his wife to become pregnant from Shimshon (hoping that the child would be strong).
(Rav Papa): This is like people say, put wine before a wine-drinker, and put vegetables before a gardener. (Shimshon was frequent with women.)
(R. Yochanan): If a man has Bi'as Znus, his wife has Bi'as Znus under him.
"If my heart was enticed by a woman, if I waited by the door of my fellow man", then "others will pursue (Bi'ah with) my wife."
This is like people say, he is in the big gourds, and she is in the small gourds.
(R. Yochanan): Shimshon judged Yisrael like Hash-m - "Dan will judge his people like One (the lone Judge)."
(R. Yochanan): Shimshon was given a name of Hash-m - "Hash-m is a Shemesh (sun) and shield."
Question: If so, it should be forbidden to erase the word 'Shemesh'!
Correction: Rather, Shimshon resembles a name of Hash-m;
Just like Hash-m shields over the whole world, Shimshon shielded over Yisrael in his generation.
(R. Yochanan): Bilam was lame in one foot - "he went Shefi (in a lowly way.)" Shimshon was lame in both feet - it says (in Yakov's Berachah to Dan, which alludes to Shimshon) "Shefifon."
(Beraisa): Five people were created with a semblance of Shamayim. All five were stricken through this - Shimshon in his strength, Sha'ul in his neck, Avshalom in his hair, Tzidkiyahu in his eyes, and Asa in his legs.
Shimshon was stricken in his strength - "his strength left him."
Sha'ul was stricken in his neck - "Sha'ul took the sword and fell on it (at his neck);
We will explain later how Avshalom was stricken in his hair.
Tzidkiyahu was stricken in his eyes - "he blinded Tzidkiyahu's eyes."
Asa was stricken in his legs - "when he grew old, his legs fell sick."
(Rav Yehudah): He was stricken by Pedagra (a sickness that makes the toes hurt).
Question (Mar Zutra brei d'Rav Nachman): What is this like?
Answer (Rav Nachman): It is like a needle in living flesh.
Question: How did Rav Nachman know?
Answer #1: He himself suffered from this.
Answer #2: He had a tradition from his Rebbi.
Answer #3: "Hash-m reveals secrets to those who fear Him."
(Rava): Asa was punished because he used Chachamim to make war - "Asa summonsed all of Yehudah. No one was clean (exempt) ".
Question: Why does it say "no one was exempt"? (It already said that he summonsed everyone!)
Answer (Rav Yehudah): This includes even a bride and groom who just got married.
YEHUDAH AND TAMAR
Contradiction: It says "Shimshon descended to Timnah", and it says "your (Tamar's) father-in-law (Yehudah) is ascending to Timnah"!
Answer #1 (R. Elazar): Shimshon was disgraced there, so it says that he descended. Yehudah was (ultimately) elevated through what happened there, so it says that he ascended.
Answer #2 (R. Shmuel bar Nachmani): There are two places called Timnah. One is on a hill, one is in a valley.
Answer #3 (Rav Papa): Timnah is on a slope. Shimshon came from the top, and Yehudah came from the bottom.
Question: "She (Tamar) sat b'Fesach Einayim (opening of eyes)" - what is this?
Answer #1 (R. Alexandri): It is the doorway of Avraham, the place all eyes long for.
Answer #2 (R. Chanin): There was a place called Einayim. She sat at the entrance.
Answer #3 (R. Shmuel bar Nachmani): She gave eyes (justifications) to her words.
Yehudah: Maybe you are a Nochris!
Tamar: No, I am a convert.
Yehudah: Maybe you are married!
Tamar: No, I am single.
Yehudah: Maybe your father betrothed you to a man!
Tamar: No, I am an orphan.
Yehudah: Maybe you are a Nidah!
Tamar: No, I am Tehorah.
(Reish Lakish): "(Avraham) planted an Eshel in Be'er Sheva" - he planted an orchard with delicacies.
R. Yehudah and R. Nechemyah argued about whether Eshel is an orchard, or if it is an inn.
Question: Granted, if it means 'orchard', we understand why it says "planted";
But if it means 'inn', why does it say that he planted it?
Answer: We find such an expression elsewhere - "He will plant the tents of His palace."
(Reish Lakish): "Va'Yikra (Avraham called) there in the name of Hash-m, L-rd of the world" - we read this va'Yakri, i.e. he made all passers-by call in Hash-m's name;
After he served a guest food and drink, the guest wanted to bless Avraham.
Avraham: You did not eat my food. You ate from the G-d of the world! Thank the One who created the world through His word!
Question: "Yehudah saw her, and thought that she was a harlot because she covered her face." This is no reason to make him think that she is a harlot!
Answer (R. Elazar): He did not recognize her because she had covered her face when in his house (when married to his sons).
(R. Shmuel bar Nachmani): Any bride who is modest in her father-in-law's house merits that kings and prophets will descend from her. We learn this from Tamar.
All kings from the house of David descended from her.
The prophets Yeshayah and his father Amotz descended from her;
(R. Levi): We have a tradition that Amotz was the brother of Amatzyah (who descended from David).
THE JUDGMENT OF TAMAR
Question: Why does it say "she was Mutzeis (found)"? It should say 'Mitutzeis (she was taken forcibly)'!
Answer (R. Elazar): It is written Mutzeis, which is spelled as Motza'as (she finds), for Sama'el hid her signs (the deposit she had taken from Yehudah), and Gavri'el brought them back.
(R. Yochanan): "La'Menatze'ach Al Yonas Elem Rechokim l'David Michtam" - when her signs were Rechokim (distant), she was like a Yonah Ilemes (mute dove, she could not justify herself);
Explanation #1: "L'David Michtam" - David descended from her, he was MaCH (humble) and TAM (perfect, in his ways) to all.
Explanation #2: "Michtam" - his MaKah (the place of circumcision, which is normally wounded) was TAM (immaculate), for he was born circumcised.
Explanation #3: "Michtam" - his MaCHus (humility) was TAM (complete), from his youth to his maturity.
Question: "She sent to her father-in-law 'I am pregnant from the owner of these.'" Why didn't she say explicitly that it was from Yehudah?
Answer (Rav Zutra bar Tuvya): From Tamar, we learn that it is better to cast oneself into a furnace than to humiliate someone in public.
(R. Chama bar Chanina): Yehudah told his father "please recognize your son's tunic", therefore he was told "please recognize to whom (are these)."
"Na" connotes a request - please recognize your Creator, and do not ignore me.
"Yehudah recognized and said 'She is (more) righteous than me.'"
(Rav Chanan bar Bizna): Yosef sanctified Hash-m's name in private, and he merited that one letter of Hash-m's name was added to his name - "Eidus b'Yehosef Samo";
Yehudah sanctified Hash-m's name in public, he was (entirely) called by Hash-m's name (with a 'Dalet' added).
When he admitted and said "She is (more) righteous than me", a voice from Heaven said 'you saved Tamar and her two children (inside her) from the fire. In your merit, I will save three of your descendants from the fire,'
Question: Who are these descendants?
Answer: They are Chananyah, Misha'el and Azaryah (who entered a great fire for refusal to bow to Nevuchadnetzar's statue).
Question: "She is righteous, (she is pregnant) from me." How did he know? (Perhaps also others had Bi'ah with her!)
Answer: (He said 'she is righteous'.) A voice from Heaven said 'hidden matters came from Me'. (Hash-m caused that she should have children from Yehudah.)
(Shmuel the elder): "V'Lo Yasaf Od Ledatah" - he did not desist from her;
We learn from "Kol Gadol v'Lo Yasaf" (at Matan Torah, Hash-m spoke unceasingly).
(Beraisa): Avshalom rebelled with his hair - "there was not a man as beautiful (as him)... when he shaved his hair, for it was a burden on him, it weighed 200 Shekalim according to the king's stone;
(Beraisa): This was a stone that people of Teveriyah and Tzipori used for a unit of weight.
Therefore, he was hung by his hair - "... his head was caught in the tree. He was (hanging) between Heaven and earth. The mule under him passed."
(Tana d'vei R. Yishmael): He took a sword and wanted to cut his hair. Just them, Gehinom opened up under him.
Question: "(David) cried... my son Avshalom, my son, my son, Avshalom, if only I had died in your place, Avshalom my son, my son... my son Avshalom, Avshalom my son, my son." Why did he say "My son" eight times?
Answer: Seven times were to save him from the seven chambers of Gehinom;
Some say that the eighth was to get his head to rejoin his body;
Others say, it was to bring him to the world to come.
Question: "Avshalom took and erected for himself in his life" - what did he take?
Answer (Reish Lakish): He made a bad purchase for himself (to try to become king).
(R. Chanina bar Papa): "The monument in Emek (valley) of the king" refers to the deep (Amukah) plan of the King of the world - "I will raise evil against you (David) from your house."