I am always intrigued about the tribe of Dan. We don’t hear much about this tribe, save for Micha’s idol and Shimshon. Yet, Yaakov seems to hope that Shimshon or one of his descendants will be Moshiach. How can this be so? Yehudah was destined to produce Dovid whose descendant will be Moshiach. Furthermore, why would Shimshon taking on the Plishtim warrant his being Moshiach? True, we find that Rabbi Akiva assumed that Bar Kochba was Moshiach because of his valiant battles against the Romans, but in the end Bar Kochba was killed and Rabbi Akiva’s hopes were dashed. Furthermore, that is good for someone like Rabbi Akiva who lived in the post Bais HaMikdash era, but how could Yaakov, the choice of the forefathers, whose prophecy is recorded in the Torah, be mistaken?
I believe the answer to this question can be found in Yaakov’s summary of his blessings. It is said (Bereishis 49:28) כָּל אֵלֶּה שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר וְזֹאת אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לָהֶם אֲבִיהֶם וַיְבָרֶךְ אוֹתָם אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר כְּבִרְכָתוֹ בֵּרַךְ אֹתָם, all these are the tribes of Israel – twelve – and this is what their father spoke to them and he blessed them; he blessed each according to his appropriate blessing. Rashi writes that although it appears that Yaakov only chastised Reuven Shimon and Levi, in truth he blessed them like all the others.
The commentators write that beneath the surface of the Tochacha, the rebuke recorded in Parashas Bechukosai and Parashas Ki Savo, are all blessings. We can suggest that Yaakov’s hope for Shimshon and the tribe of Dan were similar. Yaakov foresaw Shimshon’s triumphs and ultimate death, but he remained hopeful that HaShem would transform the loss to salvation. This teaches us how we are to view every occurrence in our lives. Although a person may suffer a loss, whether in the physical realm or the spiritual realm, he must always await HaShem’s salvation. It is noteworthy that the letters before the name דן are גם, meaning also. Although one appears to be in state of דין, justice, he should always anticipate that there will “also” be a time of mercy and compassion.
We should merit that HaShem have mercy on the Jewish People, who have suffered for centuries from so much harsh justice, and bring us Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.
Have a Transformational Shabbos!