Angels are called Malachim in Hebrew. What does malachim mean?
It means messengers. Each malach (singular) has a particular role in Judaism and message to impart. Angels are not all sweetness and light in Jewish teachings. They may be helpful to humans or not so much, depending on the messenger role they were assigned when GD created them.
Who are some of the angels in Judaism and what is their role?
HaSatan — HaSatan translates to The Adversary. (In Hebrew “ha” means “the”). HaSatan (pronounced haah-say-taahn) is not an independent entity or fallen angel. ‘He’ is part of the heavenly court. GD gave HaSatan the role of Adversary. Sometimes called the Opposer or Accuser.
Archangel Michael — The “Prince of Angels” and the warrior angel of chesed (kindness), reflecting GD’s kindness.
Archangel Gavriel — The angel that carries out GD’s judgment.
Archangel Rafael — The angel of mercy and healing.
There are many more angels and also different categories of angels, which I’ll dive into in another post.
What oddly specific thing does Kabbalah say about angels?
Angels carry all the words we say in Torah study and in our prayers up to Heaven and sets them before GD. (Zohar). Weighing our words carefully is directly connected to prayer and bible study. I find the specificity of this teaching to be quite interesting.
The Zohar (preeminent book of Kabbalah) says that every star has an angel behind it and all the stars (constellations) are influenced by angelic energy.
There is not a single blade of grass that does not have a constellation (Mazal) over it, telling it to grow.Zohar
Ever star in the universe has a name that corresponds to the name of its angel and that angelic energy flows through the stars down to earth.Zohar
Are all angels immortal?
Nope! Certain angels were created to perform one job and be a one hit wonder. After the job was done they were outsourced right out of existence.
Does Judaism have a guardian angel concept?
Yep! Humans have the power to create their own guardian angels and bring them into existence!
He who fulfills one mitzvah, acquires for himself one angel-advocate; he who commits one transgression, acquires against himself one angel-accuser. Repentance and good deeds are a shield against retribution.“Talmud / Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov
Can angels sin, transgress or mess up of their own accord?
In Jewish thought, they’re not supposed to be able to act autonomously without GD’s sanction, but sometimes they managed to do so. Midrash tells stories of errant and egotistical angels who were punished for their behavior. Sometimes their arrogance got them in trouble.
Angels are aware they can mess up and fear being judged for their sins in a prayer said on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement).
Even though angels are on a higher plane of spiritual existence, sometimes they distort the purity of their truth and their purpose in the universe.Rabbi Halevi Horowitz, Shnei Luchot HaBrit
In Jewish teachings, there are two types of sins. 1) A sin that comes through the evil inclination. 2) A sin that comes from a false or distorted sense of spiritual superiority.
In Chasidut every human and every angel possesses their own unique understanding and their own unique holiness. From that starting point, each human and each angel should humbly work to expand their consciousness.
Issues arise when a human or angel tries to rise up too rapidly due to a false or over-inflated sense of spiritual superiority.
Rabbi Eybeschutz (1690-1764) equated it to a person who drinks too much wine too quickly, beyond their capacity to handle the influence of alcohol. A humble, self-aware individual will understand their capacity for wine and indulge moderately, which can be beneficial to their health.
In Jewish Mysticism there are different types of angels: ministering angels, challenging angels, angels of mercy and angels of GD’s judgment.
Do angels have a gender?
Some angels have masculine qualities and some angels have feminine qualities. (Zohar 1:119b; 2:4b).
When fulfilling angelic functions on earth, angels can appear in human form or sometimes in spirit form. (Zohar, 1:34a, 81a, 101a; Pardes Rimmonim, section 24, chapter 11).
As Dirty Harry said “A man must know his limitations.” This applies to humans and angels!
Angels can sin and mess up, when like humans, they become arrogant and misjudge or over-step the truth of their Divine mission.
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