With respect to Samson, my teacher said that this is the secret of the verse, "And G‑d sent Yeruba’al and B’dan". (Samuel I 12:11) The Sages say that "Dan" refers to Samson. (Rosh Hashanah 25a) For Samson was a reincarnation of Nadav and Avihu the sons of Aaron the kohen, and thus "BDN/b’Dan" has the same letters as "NDV/Nadav", but in reverse.

Dan means din/judgment, the source of the Philistines. This is the secret of the words of the Maharal that Samson has some inner connection to the Philistine root. (Sota) The verses clearly say that Providence set up his relationship with them. This was only in order to facilitate his elevating the sparks from them.

...their death was instrumental to drawing the Shechinah down in the consecration of the Mishkan.

The type of tikun Samson is involved in relates to Nadav and Avihu. They brought ketoret/incense the highest offering in the Holy of Holies/the highest place in order to draw the loftiest energies that can reach down to the lowest places and elevate the farthest away sparks. It did not fully work because such a tikun requires that they be married, which they were not. (Zohar, Likutei Halachot Pirya Virevi'a) They died but their death was instrumental to drawing the Shechinah down in the consecration of the Mishkan.

Samson wanted to do the same type of tikun, but he tried the opposite approach from the other end of the spectrum. Not only was he involved in marriage, but he connected to the lowest places through coupling with Philistine women. He was partially successful, for it infiltrated and subjugated the Philistines to his people. But he ended up suffering because of it.

There are many classes of birurim. The ones that involve penetrating the dark forces are dangerous. Even those such as Nadav and Samson that are equipped in root for such soul-maneuvers are not able to be saved from suffering flack from it.

This is also the secret of the opinion that Samson has no portion in the world-to-come, for he said, "let my soul die with the Philistines". (Judges 16:30, Zohar III) The Cain/din-root is the ultimate source of the Philistines. The world-to-come is all chesed. The original thought was to create with din. (Bereishit Raba) Shimshon ascended to this higher place - above the regular level of the world-to-come.

How could din be greater than chesed? Even though chesed is all good and giving, its flow is more mellow, as opposed to the flow that comes from din, which is extremely intense when it is transformed to giving. (Rabbi Shneur Zalman)

"The beginning is embedded in the end and..." (Sefer Yetzira) The world will end up ascending to the original thought. The simple level of the world-to-come will be all chesed. But this is only the least of what is in store. It will be a springboard for something much higher - the intense, powerful delight of sweetened din. Most will be based in the lower chesed aspect and taste from the higher aspect, according to their merit. Unique individuals like Samson will merit to be totally focused directly on the higher place.

Thus, Nadav died because he didn’t want to marry, believing that not one of the daughters of Israel was fitting for him. Therefore Samson was punished, as the Sages say, by having to procreate with the Philistine women while he was in jail. (Vayikra Raba 20:7)

Furthermore, because the sons of Aaron entered while intoxicated, Samson was a nazirite from birth to rectify their sin.

On both accounts he was involved in fixing Nadav and Avihu. The lack of marriage was a lack of spreading out in chesed. The intoxication was a spreading out too much in gevura. (Likutei Moharan) A full tikun of anything must be fixed from both right and left sides.

The connection with the Philistine women was suffering for Samson. It cleansed him from the negative part of harsh din and left it by them, which is part of the birur process. It goes back to Nadav and Avihu, who were on an extremely high level and accepted upon themselves an intense degree of din. This alleviated judgment from the rest of the people. But there was still a residue of it - fixed by Samson.

Regarding Elijah, my teacher said that he is alluded to in the verse, "EM LLTsYM YLYTs VLANVYM YTAYN ChN/em lilaitsim yaluts v’la’anavim yitain chain/If [one is drawn] to scoffers, he will scoff - but if to the humble he will find favor" (Prov. 3:34) since the head-letters spell ‘ELYHV ChY/Eliyahu chai [Elijah lives].

There are no characters that are more detrimental to truth than scoffers.

"Elijah comes only to bring close truth and to distance falsehood." (Midrash) There are no characters that are more detrimental to truth than scoffers. For they depreciate Truth and make it look worthless. Elijah is a zealot who stands against them and reveals the greatness of Truth. Even though he is not anymore apparent to the living, the verse hints in its acronym that he is still really alive and well and working in the grand process of truth manifestation.

This links with the above about Samson, who was zealously subjugating the intense din of Philistine falsehood.

[Translation and commentary by Perets Auerbach.]