Description: hline

Angels

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

Description: hline

 


I. Introduction. 1

II. The Holy Chayot (Hayyot) - הקדש חיות. 5

III. The Ofanim (Ofannim) - אופנים. 9

IV. The Erelim (Arelim) - אראלים. 12

V. The Chashmalim (Hamshalim) - חשמלים. 13

V1. The Seraphim - שרפים. 14

VII. The Malachim - מלאכים. 15

VIII. The Elohim - אלהים. 15

IX. The Bene Eleohim (Sons of God) - בני אלהים. 15

X. The Cherubim (Kruvim) - כרובים. 16

XI. The Ishim - אישים. 17

XII. Names of Individual Angels 17

Michael: 18

Gavriel: 19

Rafael: 20

Sandalfon: 20

Uriel: 20

Metatron: 20

Remiel: 21

Jeremiel: 21

Sabrael: 21

Ariel: 21

Simiel: 21

Haniel: 21

Cadmael: 21

Zadkiel: 21

XIII. Angelic missions 21

XIV. A Fair Trial 21

Bibliography: 23

 

Description: hline

 

I. Introduction

 

In this study I would like to learn about HaShem’s angels and their functions. These wonderful creations are created with a purpose as expressed by Chazal[1] in the Midrash:

 

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis LXXVIII:1 R. Samuel b. Nahman said in R. Jonathan’s name: A celestial company never repeats [God’s] praises. R. Helbo said: The Holy One, blessed be He, creates a new company of angels every day, and they utter song before Him and then depart [evermore].[2]

 

Pirqe Abot, Pereq Dalet, Mishnah 4:13 writes about angels:

The meaning is that G-d cannot even be bribed with good deeds. We cannot bribe God with good deeds to overlook our sins. God punishes a person for all his sins, and then rewards him for all his good.

 

The master therefore says that when a person observes a commandment or does another good deed, a good angel is created. But when he commits a sin, then an accusing angel (mekatreg) is created. One angel does not offset the other.

 

Maimonides writes about angels in Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah:

 

Everything that God created in His world can be placed in one of three classifications. Firstly, there are those creations, such as the bodies of men and animals, plants and the molten images, which have a shape and form which always exist and can be spoiled. Secondly, there are those creations which have a shape and form which does not vary from body to body or in appearance, like those in the first category do, but their shape is fixed by their form and can never change. These are the spheres and the stars contained therein. Their form and shape are like none other. Thirdly, there are those creations which have a form but no shape. These are the angels, which have no bodies, but whose form vary from angel to angel.[3]

 

The Hebrew word for angel is malach - מלאך,[4] meaning, according to derivation, simply “messenger”, for the angels are HaShem’s messengers to perform various missions. Some angels are created for one specific task, and upon the task’s completion cease to exist. According to the Zohar[5] one of the angels’ tasks is to transport our words of prayer and Torah study before HaShem’s throne.

 

In the end, angels are products of and subsidiary to the Sephirot. As Ramchal words it, “The illuminations (i.e., Sephirot) … produce angels”;[6] and “the Sephirot decree, and the angels carry those decrees out”.[7]

 

According to Chazal, an angel is a spiritual being and does not have any physical characteristics. The angelic descriptions provided by the prophets, such as wings, arms etc., are anthropomorphic, referring to their spiritual abilities and tasks.

 

Ramban tells us some very interesting things about angels:

 

Ramban’s Commentary for: Vayiqra (Leviticus) 17:7 Know that just as the formation at the original Creation of man's body as well as that of all living creatures, vegetation and minerals, was from the four elements,[8] which were combined by Divine power to form material bodies which as a result of their thickness and coarseness could be perceived by the five senses,[9] even so there was a creation from only two elements, fire and air, resulting in a body which cannot be felt, nor perceived by any of the [five] senses, just as the soul of an animal cannot be perceived by human senses because of its delicacy. The body [of these creatures of two elements] is of a spiritual nature; on account of its delicacy and lightness it can fly through fire and air. And just as the combination of the four elements in any object is the cause of its existence and its destruction [since everything that is composite must ultimately revert to its original components],[10] so is it with these beings created from a combination of only two elements; when the elements combine, the creature lives, and when they separate [decompose], it is like the dead. It is for this reason that our Rabbis have said:[11] "Six characteristics have been said of sheidim, in three they are comparable to the ministering angels and in three to human beings. The three things in which they are comparable to the ministering angels are that they have wings, they fly, and they know what is about to happen, as do the ministering angels. [On this statement the Gemara asked: ] 'How can it enter your mind to say that the sheidim know the future [when even the ministering angels do not know it]! Say rather thus: They hear [from behind the Curtain of heaven] what is about to happen.' The three things in which they are comparable to human beings are that they eat and drink, procreate, and die as do human beings." [12] Now the cause of death generally is the separation [decomposition] of the components of the body, this being true of all kinds of bodies [whether they are composed of the four elements like humans or of only two, like sheidim]. The reason for their ability to fly is because of the lightness of the [two] elements [fire and air] of which they are composed, as may also be seen in the case of a fowl, in which, because the elements of fire and air dominate over the small parts of the other two elements [earth and water], the fowl can hover in the air and fly [although it is composed of all four elements]. Surely, then, the above-mentioned creatures that have nothing in them of the heavy elements [earth and water], possess great hovering power in the air, to be able to fly tirelessly. The matter of "eating" [mentioned above in connection with these creatures] means their deriving nourishment from the moisture of water and the odors of fire, something like the fire that licked up the water that was in the trench.[13] This is the purpose of the burnings which necromancers perform to the demons. The reason [for their need to "eat"] is that the fire in the air causes the drying up of their bodies, which must therefore be restored just as man's need for food is due to depletion in his body. As for that which has been said concerning their "hearing what is about to happen," it is because in the course of their flying on high they become aware of things that are about to happen from the powerful forces contained in the atmosphere, these being "the princes of the quiver." [14] It is also from there that "those who have wings tell matters" [15] of the future, as has been tested by enchanters,[16] and as I will explain in its place[17] with the help of G-d. But neither of them know what is to happen for many days to come and for times that are far off;[18] but they can only inform of that which is to happen in the near future, as we know from their encounters [i.e., those of enchanters], that they gain knowledge from the sheidim as to what has been decreed to come. Therefore Onkelos rendered the verse, They sacrificed unto demons, 'lo eloha' (no gods), [19] as "they sacrificed unto demons in which there is no utility," meaning that there is no need for them, as they do not prevent harm that is destined to come, neither do they do anything productive, nor do they inform of times far off so that a person may knowingly guard himself. It is this which is the sense of the expression, lo eloha, which is as if it said, "no power or rulership," for the word Elohim is an expression of strength and power, [a composite word consisting of the words] e-il heim.[20] Thus the verse is stating that demons have no strength or power whatsoever, and hence there is no need for them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.[21]

 

The Talmud tells us that every angel has only one mission. Their missions are their names. In most cases, that means that they don’t last long enough for their names to warrant mention.

 

Baba Metzia 86b Who were the three men? — Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Michael came to bring the tidings to Sarah [of Isaac’s birth]; Raphael, to heal Abraham;[22] and Gabriel, to overturn Sodom.[23] But is it not written, And there came the two angels to Sodom at even?[24] — Michael accompanied him to rescue Lot. [The Writ] supports this too, for it is written, And he overthrew those cities,[25] not, and they overthrew: this proves it.

 

The Targum Yonathan also speaks of the fact that an angel can have only one mission:

 

AND the glory of the Lord was revealed to him in the valley of Mamre; and he, being ill from the pain of circumcision, sat at the door of the tabernacle in the fervour (or strength) of the day. And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, three angels in the resemblance of men were standing before him; (angels) who had been sent from the necessity of three things;--because it is not possible for a ministering angel to be sent for more than one purpose at a time;--one, then, had come to make known to him that Sarah should bear a man-child; one had come to deliver Lot; and one to overthrow Sedom and Amorah. And when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the door of the tent, and bowed himself on the earth.

 

Another type of angels are those that are created through the deeds of man. In the words of our Sages: “He who fulfills one mitzva, acquires for himself one angel-advocate; he who commits one transgression, acquires against himself one angel-accuser”.[26] These are formed from the (intellectual and emotional) energy which one invests in the performance of a mitzva, the study of Torah, or in prayer, or conversely, energy applied in the execution of a sin. We will examine how these angels work towards the end of this paper.

 

The Jewish Encyclopedia tells us a bit about angels:

 

Angels appear to man in the shape of human beings of extraordinary beauty, and are not at once recognized as angels;[27]

 

they fly through the air;

they become invisible;

sacrifices touched by them are consumed by fire;

they disappear in sacrificial fire, like Elijah, who rode to heaven in a fiery chariot;

and they appear in the flames of the thornbush.[28]

 

They are pure and bright as heaven; consequently they are formed of fire and are encompassed by light:[29] “Who maketh winds his messengers; his ministers a flaming fire. “Although they have intercourse with the daughters of men,[30] and eat heavenly bread,[31] they are immaterial, not being subject to the limitations of time and space.

 

There are ten individual classes of angels in the in Rambam’s Yesodei HaTorah 2:7: Chayot Hakodesh, Ofanim, Erelim, Chashmalim, Seraphim, Malachim, Elohim, B’ne Elohim, the Cherubim, and the Ishim. Each level of angel has a different name. The highest level consists of the Holy Chayot, then come the Ophanim, the Erelim, the Chashmalim, the Seraphim, the Malachim, the Elokim, the Kruvim and the Ishim. The highest level is that of the Holy Chayot and there is none other above it, except that of HaShem. Therefore, in the Prophecies, it is said that they are underneath HaShem’s throne. The tenth level consists of the Ishim, who are the angel who speak with the Prophets and appear to them in prophetic visions. They are therefore called Ishim - ‘men’ - for the reason that their level is closest to that of the intellect of Man.

 

In Rambam’s Yesodei HaTorah, we see enumerated ten levels of angels. These ten levels are:

 

1.         Chayot (Hayyot),

2.         Ofanim,

3.         Erelim,

4.         Chashmalim,

5.         Seraphim,

6.         Malachim,

7.         Elohim,

8.         B’nai Eleohim (Sons of God),

9.         Cherubim, and

10.       Ishim.

 

The following table compares the ten levels of angels with the sefirot and translates the names for each level:

 

Sefira

Level

Translation

Keter

Chayot HaKodesh

Holy Living Ones

Chokmah

Ophanim

Wheels

Binah

Erelim

Valiant Ones

Chesed

Hashmallim

Shining Ones

Gevurah

Seraphim

Burning Ones

Tiferet

Malachim

Messengers

Netzach

Elohim

Godly Beings

Hod

Bene Elohim

Sons of God

Yesod

Cherubim

To Be Near

Malchut

Ishim

Guardian

 

Maimonides said: I must premise that every learned Jew knows that the term Elohim is a homonym, and denotes HaShem, angels, judges, and the rulers of countries, and that Onkelos the proselyte explained it in the true and correct manner by taking Elohim in the sentence, “and ye shall be like Elohim[32] in the last mentioned meaning, and rendering the sentence “and ye shall be like princes.”[33]

 

The term elohim signifies “judges”: compare “The cause of both parties shall come before the ‘judges”‘[34]. It has been figuratively applied to angels, and to the Creator as being judge over the angels.[35]

 

The names of angels correspond in like manner to events which are the angel’s task to realize. When God dispatched angels to Abraham to announce the glad tidings, they resembled and were thus called “men” [anashim, Genesis 18:2]. When God sent the angels to destroy Sodom, they were called “angels” [malachim, Genesis 19:1]. When God sent them unto Isaiah to burn him with hot coal because he neglected to warn Israel, they were called “seraphim” as it is said: “Then flew one of the seraphim unto me having a live coal in his hand....and he laid it upon my mouth, “[Isaiah 6:6-7]. When Ezekiel saw them in the form of unreasoning animals, they were called “hayyot” [“creatures, “Ezekiel 1:5]. The angels between them, which turned not when they went, were called “ophanim, “[“wheels, “Ezekiel 1:15]. The most elevated between them have been called “cherubim” [Ezekiel 10:1] because each elevated being among men is called “cherub, “as it is said of the king of Tyre: “Thou wast the annointed Cherub that covereth, “[Ezekiel 28:14].

 

Yoma 87a If one man sin against his fellow-man, God [Elohim] will pacify him?[36] ‘Elohim’ here means ‘the Judge’.

 

According to the Sefer Yitzirah, their names were given according to their tasks:

 

In prophecy, we find different kinds of angel. In particular, the book of Ezekiel opens with a vision of a Divine Chariot. In this vision we encounter the following:

 

1. Ofanim (lit: wheels Chayot) animals. These give the connotation of wild animals: dears or lions, not cows They have four faces, twelve wings, and one leg.

 

2. Serafim (from the verb meaning “to burn”)

 

3. Chashmalim (no translation; in modern Hebrew, the word “chashmal” was drafted to mean “electricity”, but that’s a 19th century invention)

 

4. Ishim (ish means man, but “men” is “anashim”; saying “ishim” would be like saying “mans” in English)

 

5. Keruvim (transliterated “cherub” in English). These are described variously in the Tanach, and are not like our mental image of a “cherub”. One should avoid the English parallel. In Genesis, two keruvim hold swords of revolving fire, guarding the entrance to Eden so that man does not re-enter (until he is ready). In Exodus, the top of the ark is adorned with two keruvim that have childlike faces and two huge wings that make a canopy over the ark. In Ezekiel, the four faces of the chayot have are described as being those of a man, a lion, an eagle and a keruv. Two verses later, the list replaces keruv with a bull. So they’re associated with bulls somehow.

 

This suggests that there is a lot more to angels than most of us have been taught.

 

1 Corinthians 15:39-41 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.

 

We will spend a bit of time getting to know the angels in each of these ten levels.

 

II. The Holy Chayot (Hayyot) - הקדש חיות

 

The holy chayot, who are above all the others; -The chayot are described in the vision of HaShem’s chariot.[37] The term chayot means “life energy, “and is applied to them because they are the first level of creations to which the life energy from HaShem descends. They are referred to as “holy” because they are the most elevated creations.[38]

 

The level above which there is no higher level except that of HaShem, blessed be He, is that of the form called chayot. Therefore, the prophets -Ezekiel 1:26[39] state that they are below, i.e. directly below HaShem’s throne of glory. HaShem’s throne of glory refers to HaShem as he lowers Himself to become King over creation. The Sages[40] describe the chayot as “carrying the throne”, i.e. serving as the media for the expression of this creative energy.[41]

 

In The Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides elucidates on the role of the Chayot:[42]

 

You must know that in Hebrew the collective noun denoting animals used for riding is “mercabah. “Instances of this noun are not rare. “And Joseph made ready his chariot” (merkabto):[43] “in the second chariot” (be-mirkebet):[44] “Pharaoh’s chariots” (Markebot).[45] The following passage especially proves that the Hebrew merkabah denotes a collection of animals: “And a merkabah came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for an hundred and fifty”.[46] Hence we may learn that mercabah denotes here four horses. Therefore I think that when it was stated, according to the literal sense of the words, that four Hayyot (beasts) carry the Throne of Glory, our Sages called this” mercabah” on account of its similarity with the mercabah consisting of four single animals.

 

It is well known that there are men whose face is like that of other animals thus the face of some person is like that of a lion, that of another person like that of an ox, and so on: and man’s face is described according as the form of his face resembles the form of the face of other animals. By the expressions, “the face of an ox, ““the face of a lion, ““the face of an eagle”,[47] the prophet describes a human face inclining towards the forms of these various species. This interpretation can be supported by two proofs. First, the prophet says of the Hayyot in general that” their appearance is this, they have the form of man” (ver. 5), and then in describing each of the Hayyot he attributes to them the face of a man, that of an ox, that of a lion, and that of an eagle. Secondly, in the second description of the Chariot, which is intended as a supplement to the first, the prophet says, Each hath four faces; the one is the face of a cherub, the second a man’s face, the third a lion’s face, and the fourth that of an eagle (ibid. x. W. He thus clearly indicates that the terms” the face of an ox” and” the face of a cherub” are identical. But cherub designates” a youth. “By analogy we explain the two other terms-” the face of a lion” and “the face of an eagle” in the same manner. “The face of the ox” has been singled out on account of the etymology of the Hebrew term shor (ox), as has been indicated by me. It is impossible to assume that this second description refers to the perception of another prophetic vision, because it concludes thus “This is the Hayyah which I saw at the river Chebar” (ibid. ver. 15). What we intended to explain is now clear.[48]

 

In chapter II, of book 3, we read the following:

 

The prophet says that he saw four Hayyot: each of them had four faces, four wings, and two hands, but on the whole their form was human. Comp. “They had the likeness of a man”.[49] The hands are also described as human hands, because these have undoubtedly, as is well known, such a form as enables them to perform all manner of cunning work. Their feet are straight that is to say, they are without joints. This is the meaning of the phrase a straight foot, “taken literally. Similarly our Sages say, the words, “And their feet were straight feet”,[50] show that the beings above do not sit. Note this likewise. The soles of the feet of the Hayyot, the organs of walking, are described as different from the feet of man, but the hands are like human hands. The feet are round, for the prophet says, “like the sole of a round foot. “The four Hayyot are closely joined together, there is no space or vacuum left between them. Comp. “They were joined one to another”.[51] “But although they were thus joined together, their faces and their wings were separated above”.[52] Consider the expression “above” employed here, although the bodies were closely joined, their faces and their wings were separated, but only above. The prophet then states that they are transparent; they are “like burnished brass”.[53] He also adds that they are luminous. Comp. “Their appearance was like burning coals of fire”.[54] This is all that has been said as regards the form, shape, face, figure, wings, hands, and feet of the Hayyot. The prophet then begins to describe the motions of these Hayyot, namely, that they have a uniform motion, without any curvature, deviation, or deflexion: “They turned not when they went”.[55] Each of the Hayyot moves in the direction of its face. Comp. “They went every one in the direction of his face”.[56] Now, it is here clearly stated that each Hayyah went in the direction of its face, but since each Hayyah has several faces, I ask, in the direction of which face? In short, the four Hayyot do not move in the same direction; for, if this were the case, a special motion would not have been ascribed to each of them: it would not have been said, “They went each one towards the side of his face. “The motion of these Hayyot is further described as a running, so also their returning is described as a running. Comp. “And the Hayyot ran, and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning” (ver. 14), razoh being the infinitive of ruz, “to run”, and sbob the infinitive instead of Aub, “to return”. The ordinary words, haloch and bo, “to go” and “to come”, are not used, but such words as indicate running to and fro: and these are further explained by the phrase, “As the appearance of a flash of lightning” (bazak, used by the prophet, is identical with barak), for the lightning appears to move very quickly; it seems to hasten and to run from a certain place, and then to turn back and to come again to the place from which it had started. This is repeated several times with the same velocity. Jonathan, the son of Uzziel, renders the phrase razo vashob thus: They move round the world and return at once, and are as swift as the appearance of lightning. This quick movement and return the Hayyah does not perform of its own accord, but through something outside of it, viz., the Divine Will; for” to whichever side it is the Divine Will that the Hayyah should move, thither the Hayyah moves, “in that quick manner which is expressed by “running and returning”. This is implied in the words, “Whithersoever the spirit was to go they went”:[57] “They turned not when they went”.[58] By the spirit (ruah), the prophet does not mean “the wind”, but “the intention”, as we have explained when discussing the homonym ruah (spirit). The meaning of the phrase is, that whithersoever it is the Divine Will that the Hayyah shall go, thither it runs. Jonathan, the son of Uzziel, gives a similar explanation: Towards the place whither it is the will to go, they go; they do not turn when they go. The employment of the future tense of the verbs yihyeh and yeleku in this passage seems to imply that sometimes it will be the will of God that the Hayyah should move in one direction, in which it will in fact move, and at other times it will be His will that the Hayyah should move in the opposite direction, in which it will then move. An explanation is, however, added, which is contrary to/this conclusion, and shows that the future form (yihyeh) of the verb has here the meaning of the preterite, as is frequently the case in Hebrew. The direction in which God desires the Hayyah to move has already been determined and fixed, and the Hayyah moves in that direction which His will has determined long ago, without having ever changed. The prophet, therefore, in explaining, and at the same time concluding [this description of the Hayyot], says, “Whithersoever the spirit was to go they go, thither was the spirit to go” (ver. 20). Note this wonderful interpretation. This passage forms likewise part of the account of the motion of the four Hayyot which follows the description of their form.

 

Next comes the description of another part; for the prophet relates that he saw a body beneath the Hayyot, but closely joining them. This body, which is connected with the earth, consists likewise of four bodies, and has also four faces. But no distinct form is ascribed to it: neither that of man nor that of any other living being. The [four bodies] are described as great, tremendous, and terrible; no form is given to them, except that they are covered with eyes. These are the bodies called Ofannim.[59] The prophet therefore says:” Now, as I beheld the Rayyot, behold one wheel upon the earth beside the living creatures, with his four faces”.[60] He thus distinctly states that the 0fannim form a body, of which the one part touches the Hayyot, and the other part the earth; and that the Ofan has four faces. But he continues – “The appearance of the Ofannim (wheels) and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness”.[61] By speaking of four Ofannim, after having mentioned only one Ofan, the prophet indicates that the” four faces” and the” four Ofannim” are identical. These four Olannim have the same form; comp., “And they four had one likeness”. The Ofannim are then described as partly inter-joined; for “their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel”.[62] In the description of the Hayyot such a phrase, with the term in the middle of” (tok) is not employed. The Hayyot are partly joined, according to the words, “they were joined one to another” (ver. 11): whilst in reference to the Ofannim it is stated that they are partly intermixed, “as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel” The body of the Olannim is described as being covered with eyes; it is possible that a body covered with real eyes is here meant, or a body with different colours [‘ayin denoting” eye, “also” colour” ], as in the phrase” the colour thereof [‘eno] as the colour (ke’en) of bdellium”;[63] or a body filled with likenesses of things. In this latter sense the term ayin is used by our Sages in phrases like the following:Like that [ke’en] which he has stolen, like that [ke’en] which he has robbed; or different properties and qualities are meant, according to the meaning of the word ‘ayin in the passage, “It may be that the Lord will look (be’enai) on my condition”.[64] So much for the form of the Ofannim.

 

Their motion is described as being without curvature and deviation; as being straight, without any change. This is expressed in the words, “When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went”. The four Ofannim do not move of their own accord, as the Hayyot, and have no motion whatever of their own; they are set in motion by other beings, as is emphatically stated twice. The Hayyot are the moving agents of the Ofannim. The relation between the Ofan and the Hayyah may be compared to the relation between a lifeless body tied to the hand or the leg of a living animal; whithersoever the latter moves, thither moves also the piece of wood, or the stone, which is tied to the named limb of the animal. This is expressed in the following words: “And when the Hayyot went, the Ofannim went by them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the Ofannim were lifted up” (ver. 19):” and the Ofannim were lifted up over against them” (ver. 20). And the cause of this is explained thus: “The spirit of the Hayyah was in the Ofannim” (ibid.). For the sake of emphasis and further explanation the prophet adds, “When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the Ofannim were lifted up over against them; for the spirit of the Hayyah was in the Ofannin” (ver. 2 1). The order of these movements is therefore as follows :-Whithersoever it is the will of God that the Hayyot should move, thither they move of their own accord. When the Hayyot move the Ofannim necessarily follow them, because they are tied to them, and not because they move of their own accord in the direction in which the Hayyot move. This order is expressed in the words, “Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was the spirit to go; and the Ofannim were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the Hayyah was in the Ofannim” (ver. 20). I have told you that Jonathan, the son of Uzziel, translates the verse thus, “to the place whither it was the will that the Hayyot should go, “etc.

 

After having completed the account of the Hayyot, with their form and motion, and of the Ofannim, which are beneath the Hayyot, connected with them and forced to move when the Hayyot move, the prophet begins to describe a third object which he perceived prophetically, and gives the account of a new thing, viz., of that which is above the Hayyot. He says that the firmament is above the four Hayyot, above the firmament is the likeness of a throne, and over the throne the likeness of the appearance of mar. This is the whole account of what the prophet perceived at first at the river Chebar.

 

Finally, the Talmud also teaches us about the Chayot:

 

Rosh HaShana 24b Still, are the other attendants permitted, seeing that it has been taught: ‘“Ye shall not make with me”: ye shall not make the likeness of My attendants who serve before Me on high, such as Ofanim and Seraphim and holy Hayyoth and ministering angels’? — Abaye replied: The Torah forbade only the attendants in the upper sphere.[65] But are those in the lower sphere[66] permitted? Has it not been taught: ‘Which are in the heaven:[67] this brings under the rule the sun, the moon, the stars and constellations; “above”:[68] this brings under the rule the ministering angels?’ — That statement refers to the prohibition of [making a likeness] for serving them.

 

III. The Ofanim (Ofannim) - אופנים

 

The Ofanim - They are also mentioned in Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 1:16). Their name means “spheres. “They are the source for the galgalim, the spheres mentioned in the following chapter. The Rambam explains Ezekiel’s vision and, thus, the activity of the chayyot and ofanim in the Guide for the Perplexed.[69]

 

In the Guide For The Perplexed, Maimonides describes the Ofanim:

 

Next comes the description of another part; for the prophet relates that he saw a body beneath the Hayyot, but closely joining them. This body, which is connected with the earth, consists likewise of four bodies, and has also four faces. But no distinct form is ascribed to it: neither that of man nor that of any other living being. The [four bodies] are described as great, tremendous, and terrible; no form is given to them, except that they are covered with eyes. These are the bodies called Ofannim.[70] The prophet therefore says: “Now, as I beheld the Rayyot, behold one wheel upon the earth beside the living creatures, with his four faces”.[71] He thus distinctly states that the 0fannim form a body, of which the one part touches the Hayyot, and the other part the earth; and that the Ofan has four faces. But he continues --” The appearance of the Ofannim (wheels) and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness”.[72] By speaking of four Ofannim, after having mentioned only one Ofan, the prophet indicates that the “four faces” and the “four Ofannim” are identical. These four Olannim have the same form; compare, “And they four had one likeness”. The Ofannim are then described as partly inter-joined; for “their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel”.[73] In the description of the Hayyot such a phrase, with the term in the middle of (tok) is not employed. The Hayyot are partly joined, according to the words, “they were joined one to another”:[74] whilst in reference to the Ofannim it is stated that they are partly intermixed, “as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel”. The body of the Olannim is described as being covered with eyes; it is possible that a body covered with real eyes is here meant, or a body with different colours [‘ayin denoting “eye”, also “color” ], as in the phrase “the color thereof [‘eno] as the color (ke’en) of bdellium”:[75] or a body filled with likenesses of things. In this latter sense the term ayin is used by our Sages in phrases like the following:Like that [ke’en] which he has stolen, like that [ke’en] which he has robbed; or different properties and qualities are meant, according to the meaning of the word ‘ayin in the passage, “It may be that the Lord will look (be’enai) on my condition”.[76] So much for the form of the Ofannim.

 

Their motion is described as being without curvature and deviation; as being straight, without any change. This is expressed in the words, “When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.” The four Ofannim do not move of their own accord, as the Hayyot, and have no motion whatever of their own; they are set in motion by other beings, as is emphatically stated twice. The Hayyot are the moving agents of the Ofannim. The relation between the Ofan and the Hayyah may be compared to the relation between a lifeless body tied to the hand or the leg of a living animal; whithersoever the latter moves, thither moves also the piece of wood, or the stone, which is tied to the named limb of the animal. This is expressed in the following words: “And when the Hayyot went, the Ofannim went by them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the Ofannim were lifted up”:[77] “and the Ofannim were lifted up over against them.”[78] And the cause of this is explained thus :- “The spirit of the Hayyah was in the Ofannim”. For the sake of emphasis and further explanation the prophet adds, “When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the Ofannim were lifted up over against them; for the spirit of the Hayyah was in the Ofannim”.[79] The order of these movements is therefore as follows: Whithersoever it is the will of God that the Hayyot should move, thither they move of their own accord. When the Hayyot move the Ofannim necessarily follow them, because they are tied to them, and not because they move of their own accord in the direction in which the Hayyot move. This order is expressed in the words, “Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was the spirit to go; and the Ofannim were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the Hayyah was in the Ofannim”.[80] I have told you that Jonathan, the son of Uzziel, translates the verse thus, “to the place whither it was the will that the Hayyot should go”, etc.

 

After having completed the account of the Hayyot, with their form and motion, and of the Ofannim, which are beneath the Hayyot, connected with them and forced to move when the Hayyot move, the prophet begins to describe a third object which he perceived prophetically, and gives the account of a new thing, viz., of that which is above the Hayyot. He says that the firmament is above the four Hayyot, above the firmament is the likeness of a throne, and over the throne the likeness of the appearance of mar. This is the whole account of what the prophet perceived at first at the river Chebar.

 

CHAPTER III WHEN Ezekiel recalled to memory the form of the Chariot, which he described in the beginning of the book, the same vision presented itself to him a second time; in this vision he was borne to Jerusalem. He explains in describing it things which have not been made clear at first, e.g., he substitutes the term “cherubim” for Hayyot, whereby he expresses that the Hayyot of the first vision are likewise angels like the cherubim. He says, therefore: “Where the cherubims went, the Ofannim went by them: and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same Ofannim also turned not from beside them”.[81] By these words he shows how closely connected the two motions are [viz., that of the Hayyot and that of the Ofannim]. The prophet adds, “This is the Hayyah that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar: and I knew that they were cherubims”.[82] He thus describes the same forms and the same motions, and states that the Hayyot and the cherubim are identical. A second point is then made clear in this second description, namely, that the Ofannim are spherical; for the prophet says, “As for the Ofannim, it was cried unto them in my hearing, o sphere”.[83] A third point concerning the Ofannim is illustrated here in the following words: “To the place whither the head looked they followed it: they turned not as they went”.[84] The motion of the Ofannim is thus described as involuntary, and directed “to the place whither the head looketh”: and of this it is stated that it moves “whither the spirit is to go”.[85] A fourth point is added concerning the Ofannim, namely, “And the Ofannim were full of eyes round about, even the Ofannim that they four had”.[86] This has not been mentioned before. In this second description there are further mentioned “their flesh, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings”,[87] whilst in the first account none of these is mentioned: and it is only stated that they are bodies. Though they are endowed in the second account with flesh, hands, and wings, no form is given to them. In the second account each Ofan is attributed to a cherub, “one Ofan by one cherub, and another Ofan by another cherub”. The four Hayyot are then described as one Hayyah on account of their interjoining: “This is the Hayyah that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar”.[88] Also the Olannim, though being four in number, as has been mentioned, are called “one Ofan upon the earth”,[89] because they interjoin, and “they four have one likeness”.[90] This is the additional explanation which the second vision gives of the form of the Hayyot and the Ofannim.

 

CHAPTER IV IT is necessary to call your attention to an idea expressed by jonathan, the son of Uzziel. When he saw that the prophet says in reference to the Ofannim, “It was cried unto them in my hearing, O gilgal” (sphere),[91] he assumed that by Ofannim the heavens are meant, and rendered Ofan by gilgal,” sphere,” and Ofannim by gilgelaya,” spheres.” I have no doubt that he found a confirmation of his opinion in the words of the prophet that the Ofannim were like unto the colour of tarshish (ver. 16), a colour ascribed to the heavens, as is well known. When he, therefore, noticed the passage,” Now as I beheld the Hayyot, behold one Olan upon the earth”,[92] which clearly shows that the Ofannim were upon the earth, he had a difficulty in explaining it in accordance with his opinion. Following, however, his interpretation, he explains the terms eretz, employed here as denoting the inner surface of the heavenly sphere, which may be considered as eretz (“earth” or “below” ), in relation to all that is above that surface. He therefore translates the words ofan ehad ba-arez, as follows: “One ofan was below the height of the heavens”. Consider what his explanation of the passage must be. I think that he gave this explanation because he thought that gilgal denotes in its original meaning “heaven”. My opinion is that gilgal means originally “anything rolling”; compare “And I will roll thee (ve-gilgaltika) down from the rocks”:[93] “and rolled (va-yagel) the stone”:[94] the same meaning the word has in the phrase:” Like a rolling thing (galgal) before the whirlwind”.[95] The poll of the head, being round, is therefore called gulgolet; and because everything round rolls easily, every spherical thing is called gilgal; also the heavens are called gilgallim on account of their spherical form. Thus our Sages use the phrase, “It is a wheel (gilgal) that moves round the world”; and a wooden ball, whether small or large, is called gilgal. If so, the prophet merely intended by the words, “As for the Olannim, it is cried to them in my hearing, 0 sphere” (gilgal), to indicate the shape of the Ofannim, as nothing has been mentioned before respecting their form and shape; but he did not mean to say that the Ofannim are the same as the heavens. The term “like tarshish” is explained in the second account, in which it is said of the Ofannim: “And the appearance of the Ofannim was like the colour of tarshish”. This latter passage is translated by Jonathan, the son of Uzziel, “like the colour of a precious stone”, exactly in the same manner as Onkelos translates the phrase ke-ma’ase libnat ha-sappir, “like the work of the whiteness of sapphire”.[96] Note this. You will not find it strange that I mention the explanation of jonathan, son of Uzziel, whilst I gave a different explanation myself; for you will find many of the wise men and the commentators differ sometimes from him in the interpretation of words and in many things respecting the prophets. Why should it be otherwise in these profound matters? Besides, I do not decide in favour of my interpretation. It is for you to learn both-the whole of his explanation, from what I have pointed out to you, and also my own opinion. God knoweth which of the two explanations is in accordance with that which the prophet intended to say

 

IV. The Erelim (Arelim) - אראלים

 

The Erelim - They are mentioned in Isaiah’s vision (33:7). The term erelim means “great ones” or “exalted ones. “The Temple altar is at times referred to as “Ariel”.[97]

 

Maimonides does not speak of the Erelim in The Guide For The Perplexed. He does speak briefly of them in the Mishne Torah.

 

According to Maimonides, Raziel is chief of the order of Erelim.

 

Erelim appear only once in the Tanach in Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 33:7. Chazal teach that when the Temple was destroyed and the Shechinah went into exile into strange lands, then was this verse spoken:

 

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 33:7 Erelim (Valiant ones) cry without.

 

The Zohar goes on to comment on the above pasuk:

 

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 182a The next verse says: “According as many were appalled at thee-so marred was his visage unlike that of a man” (Is. LII, 14). According to our exposition, when the Temple was destroyed and the Shekinah went into exile into strange lands, then “behold, their Erelim [Tr. note: A kind of angel.] cry without, the angels of peace weep bitterly” (Ibid. XXXIII, 7), for all wept and mourned for the Shekinah that was exiled from her place, and in the degree that she became altered from what she was, to the same degree her Master withdrew his light and became altered from what he was, as it is written: “The sun was darkened in his going forth” (Ibid. XIII, 10). Hence: “so marred was his visage.,’

 

The Midrash also comments on the pasuk from Yeshayahu. He says that it was spoken at the Akeida, the binding of Yitzchak:

 

Pirê de Rabbi Eliezer The ministering angels said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Sovereign of all the worlds! Thou art called merciful and compassionate, whose mercy is upon all His works; ‘have mercy upon Isaac, for he is a human being, and the son of a human being, and is bound before Thee like an animal. “O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast”; as it is said, “Thy righteousness is like the mighty mountains;’ thy judgments are like a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast”[98].

 

Another Midrash gives us some more insight into these mysterious angels:

 

The Erelim are appointed over the grass, trees, fruits and grain, and once they have done the will of their Creator they return to their assigned places and continue to praise HaShem.[99]

 

There is another passage in the Zohar which also comments on Erelim:

 

Kethuboth 104a ‘Go’, said the Rabbis to Bar Kappara, ‘and investigate’.[100] He went and, finding that [Rabbi] was dead, he tore his cloak and turned the tear backwards. [On returning to the Rabbis] he began: ‘The angels[101] [erelim] and the mortals[102] have taken hold of the holy ark.[103] The angels overpowered the mortals and the holy ark has been captured’. ‘Has he’, they asked him, ‘gone to his eternal rest?’ — ‘You’, he replied, ‘said it; I did not say it’.

 

The Zohar also speaks of these Erelim:

 

Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 120a R. Simeon discoursed here on the verse: Behold, angels cry abroad, the angels of peace weep bitterly (Is. XXXIII, 7). ‘These angels’, he said, ‘are superior angels who “cried abroad” because they no longer knew what to make of God’s promise to Abraham at the time when “He brought him forth abroad” (Gen. XV, 5). The “angels of peace” are those other angels who were destined to go forth to meet Jacob, for whose sake the Holy One promised them peace, as it is written, “And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him” (Ibid. XXXII, 2), and these are called “angels of peace”. All these wept when they saw Abraham binding Isaac, the upper and the lower beings trembled and shook, and all on account of Isaac.

 

V. The Chashmalim (Hamshalim) - חשמלים

 

The Chashmalim - Chaggigah 13b interprets the term chashmal mentioned in Ezekiel 1:27 as “fiery beings which communicate.”

 

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Raya Mehemna, Page 43a Finally, in “Sovereignty” He calls Himself “King”, whose is “the greatness, the strength, the beauty, the victory, the majesty; for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine. Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all”.[104] All things are in His power, whether He wills to lessen the number of vessels or to increase the light which springs from them, or whether He wills the contrary. Above Him, however, there is no god who could increase or lessen. Then He created ministering beings to those vessels: one throne supported on four columns and six steps to the throne: ten altogether. And the whole throne is like the chalice of benediction, in regard to which ten things are formulated, in harmony with the Torah which was given in Ten Words (Decalogue), and with the Ten Words by which the world was created. Then He prepared for the throne angelic hierarchies to serve Him:

  1. malachim (angels),
  2. erelim,
  3. seraphim,
  4. hayoth (living beings),
  5. ophanim,
  6. hamshalim,
  7. elim,
  8. elohim,
  9. be’ne (sons of) elohim,
  10. ishim (supernal “men”).

 

To these He appointed as ministers Samael and all his groups- these are like clouds to ride upon when He descends to earth: they are like horses. That the clouds are called “ chariots” is expressed in the words, “Behold the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt”.[105]

 

The definition of Chashmal[106] is based on

 

Ezekiel 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber (chashmal), out of the midst of the fire.

 

And

 

Chagigah 13b The Rabbis taught: There was once a child who was reading at his teacher’s house the Book of Ezekiel, and he apprehended what Hashmal was, whereupon a fire went forth from Hashmal and consumed him. So they[107] sought to suppress the Book of Ezekiel, but Hananiah b. Hezekiah said to them: If he was a Sage, all are Sages![108] What does [the word] Hashmal mean?-Rab Judah said: Living creatures speaking fire.[109] In a Baraitha it is taught: [Hashmal means], At times they are silent, at times they speak.[110] When the utterance goes forth from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be He, they are silent, and when the utterance goes not forth from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be He, they speak.

 

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsberg[111] defines Chashmalim as:

 

The dynamic of contraction and relaxation characterizes the class of angels whose spiritual abode (the “heavenknown as Ma’on’) is in the realm of the sefirah of gevurah. These angels are referred to as Chashmalim, which means that they are “at times silent, at limes speaking”. The time of silence is the time of contraction; the time of speaking is the time of relaxation. As it is written, “The words of the wise spoken in a state of tranquility, are heard”.

 

V1. The Seraphim - שרפים

 

The Seraphim – The fifth level of angels are the Seraphim. These angels absorb the light that is reflected from the Chashmelim. The word saraph can mean to absorb a substance, here the angels are absorbing the remainder of the divine light in order to transfer it to the next level of angels.

 

The first use of Seraphim, as applying to an angel, is found in:

 

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 6:2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

 

Isaiah’s vision (6:2) mentions the seraphim. Their name means “those who are burned” - i.e., they have such a burning love for HaShem that they are consumed by their own fire.[112]

 

These are the highest order of malachim, fiery angels. They have an extremely short “life span!” As soon as they are created, they are immediately swallowed up in a fire of reincorporation with HaShem. They flash in and out of existance, and their only purpose in their existance is to be extinquish themselves in a flash of passionate fiery love, ending their own separate existance right after their creation.

 

[Yeshayahu] describes the Divine Chariot, stating: “I saw G-d... and the Seraphim were standing above Him.” The Alter Rebbe explains[113] that [the Seraphim are described as being “above” HaShem Himself, as it were,] because their fundamental desire is to grasp the dimension [of HaShem] that transcends all worlds. Hence they stand “above Him,” [i.e., above the dimension of G-dliness that has been contracted] to serve as “the L-rd over all worlds,” [i.e.,] the source for the Divine life-energy which permeates the worlds. For [since their desire is focused] on these higher realms, it is as if they are standing there.

 

Berachot 31a states:

 

Berachot 31a A person should always pray in a house with windows.

 

In his responsum, the Rambam mentions that this halachah applies only to a house, as explicitly mentioned in the Talmud and not necessarily to a synagogue. However, the Beit Yosef [114] quotes the Zohar,[115] which requires a synagogue to have twelve windows, which correspond to the twelve seraphim in the Heavenly Court. He also quotes this law in his Shulchan Aruch.[116]

 

Yeshayahu HaNavi said:

 

Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 6:5-6 I dwell among a people with impure lips.

 

Referring to the Jewish people. Immediately following his statement: “One of the Serpahim flew to me and in his hand was a coal; he had taken it with tongs from atop the altar”. This coal was so hot that even the Seraphim (angels that are composed entirely of burning fire) were unable to grasp it with their bare hands but required the assistance of tongs. Rav Dessler zt”l explained that this heat refers to his closeness to HaShem, it was on such a great level, that even an angel could not touch it.

 

VII. The Malachim - מלאכים

 

The Malachim – The sixth level of angel is called malachim. The term malachim is generally translated as “angel” and is frequently found in the Tanach;[117] e.g., Genesis 16:7 and 28:12. Literally, it means “emissary” and refers to angels charged with specific tasks by HaShem.

 

The first use of malachim in the Torah, speaking of Hagar, is found in:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 16:7 And the angel of HaShem found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

 

VIII. The Elohim - אלהים

 

The Elohim – The seventh level of angel is called Elohim. Though this term is also one of the names of HaShem, it is also used to refer to the angels - e.g., Bereshit (Genesis) 32:31 and Tehillim (Psalms) 82:6. It means “judges” and refers to the manner in which the angels determine the amount of Divine influence that is allowed to descend to the lower realms.[118]

 

Maimonides writes, about Elohim, in The Guide For The Perplexed:

 

Some years ago a learned man asked me a question of great importance; the problem and the solution which we gave in our reply deserve the closest attention. Before, however, entering upon this problem and its solution I must premise that every Hebrew knows that the term Elohim is a homonym, and denotes God, angels, judges, and the rulers of countries, and that Onkelos the proselyte explained it in the true and correct manner by taking Elohim in the sentence,” and ye shall be like Elohim”[119] in the last mentioned meaning, and rendering the sentence “and ye shall be like princes”.

 

We see angels called Elohim when compared to men:

 

Tehillim (Psalms) 8:3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels (Elohim), and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

 

We see Elohim angels striving with men:

 

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis LXXVIII:3 At all events, ‘ Thy name is Jacob,’ save that, But Israel [too] shall be thy name:[120] Jacob would be the principal name-’Israel’ was added to it. FOR THOU HAST STRIVEN WITH ELOHIM[121] AND WITH MEN, AND HAST PREVAILED:[122] thou hast striven with celestial beings and conquered them, and with mortals, and hast conquered them.’

 

IX. The Bene Eleohim (Sons of God) - בני אלהים

 

Bene Elohim (the sons of the elohim) – The eighth level of angels are called Bene Elohim. We find this term used with reference to the angels in Psalms 29:1 and Job 1:6. When referring to them as “the sons of the elohim, “the Tanach obviously implies that they are on a lower level than, but perform a function similar to, the elohim angels.

 

The first use of Bene Elohim is found in:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

 

X. The Cherubim (Kruvim) - כרובים

 

The Cherubim - We find this term in the Torah[123] and in the prophets.[124] The Perush interprets the word keruv as meaning “king”. That text also explains that on the cover for the holy ark, these angels are depicted with a childlike face.[125]

 

Our Sages explain that the Hebrew word for cherub, kruv, is from Aramaic and means “as a baby.” The cherubim had baby faces. A baby face represents innocence.

 

This leads to the conclusion that their spiritual level was low, similar to the ishim, who communicate with man. In the Guide for the Perplexed,[126] the Rambam describes the Cherubim as being on a higher spiritual plane:

 

CHAPTER III WHEN Ezekiel recalled to memory the form of the Chariot, which he described in the beginning of the book, the same vision presented itself to him a second time; in this vision he was borne to Jerusalem. He explains in describing it things which have not been made clear at first, e.g., he substitutes the term” cherubim” for Hayyot, whereby he expresses that the Hayyot of the first vision are likewise angels like the cherubim. He says, therefore. “Where the cherubims went, the Ofannim went by them, and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same Ofannim also turned not from beside them” (x. 16). By these words he shows how closely connected the two motions are [viz., that of the Hayyot and that of the Ofannim]. The prophet adds, “This is the Hayyah that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar, and I knew that they were cherubims” (ver. 20). He thus describes the same forms and the same motions, and states that the Hayyot and the cherubim are identical.

 

Cherubim, correspond to the sefirah of yesod. They represent the spiritual power of union between man and wife, and symbolize the union between HaShem and Israel.

 

Abraham Ibn Ezra, defines the word kruv as formless matter that can assume any form whatsoever. This is the exact property of the cherubim, who can assume the form of fearful angels and also of consummate lovers. Ibn Ezra bases his definition of kruv as a formless being on the workings of the chariot in the first chapter of Ezekiel. The prophet initially describes four figures: a lion, an ox, an eagle and a man. Later, Ezekiel replaces the ox with a description of a kruv.

 

Subsequently, Ezekiel describes all the forms as kruvim. The Ibn Ezra concludes from this that the kruv is an amorphous state that can assume any form.

 

We see Kruvim in Gan Eden (the first use of the word ‘kruvim – cherubim), and in the Beit HaMikdash.

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 3:24 He drove the Man out and He placed to the east of the Garden of Eden the Kruvim and a flaming sword constantly turning to protect the way to the Tree of Life.

 

Rashi says that these Kruvim were angels of destruction waving a flaming sword preventing Adam from returning to the Garden of Eden.

 

We also see Kruvim in the Beit HaMikdash:

 

Shemot (Exodus) 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

 

These Kruvin are described as “child-like”, representing a man and a woman according to the Talmud:

 

Yoma 54a R. Kattina said: Whenever Israel came up to the Festival, the curtain would be removed for them and the Cherubim were shown to them, whose bodies were intertwisted with one another, and they would be thus addressed: Look! You are beloved before God as the love between man and woman.

 

Yoma 54b Resh Lakish said: When the heathens entered the Temple and saw the Cherubim whose bodies were intertwisted with one another, they carried them out and said: These Israelites, whose blessing is a blessing, and whose curse is a curse, occupy themselves with such things!

 

First we see that when the Kruvim are intertwined like a man and woman in love, then we know that HaShem loves us. Why then were they intertwined at the time of the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash and our subsequent exile?

 

The answer is that the greatest love a parent can give to their children is when they discipline them. Thus when HaShem was disciplining us, then was His love the strongest!

 

XI. The Ishim - אישים

 

The Ishim – Maimonides speaks of the Ishim as the tenth level, who are the angels who speak with the Prophets and appear to them in prophetic visions. They are therefore called Ishim ‘men’, for the reason that their level is closest to that of the intellect of man.

 

This term, Ishim, is found in Ezekiel 10:6. It means “men”, i.e. as the Rambam explains, angels close to man’s level.

 

Yehezechel (Exekiel) 10:5-7 And the sound of the cherubims’ wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh. 6 And it came to pass, that when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels. 7 And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out.

 

Therefore, they are called ishim, because their level is close to the level or human knowledge. Thus, when a person goes through the process of refinement,[127] he can attain their level, and thus reveal prophetic insights to our world.

 

We also see this type of angel in:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 37:15 And a man found him and he was wandering in a field and the man asked him ‘what are you seeking’?

 

Maimonides said[128] that when prophecy comes on a person the Holy Spirit will immediately descend. And when the spirit rests upon him, his soul will mingle with the angels called Ishim. He will be changed into another man and will realize that he is not the same as he had been, and has been exalted above other wise men, even as it is said of Saul:

 

I Shmuel (Samuel) 10:6 And you shall prophesy with them, and shall be turned into another man.

 

XII. Names of Individual Angels

 

For the most part, angels aren’t named in the Tanach.[129] But the names of certain lofty and prevailing angels were revealed to us elsewhere.[130] So we learn of Michael the angel of mercy; Gabriel the angel of justice; Raphael the angel of healing; Uriel the angel of illumination; and of others.

 

The first angels mentioned by name in the Tanach are Gavriel (Gabriel) and Michael, in the Book of Daniel.[131] In earlier books of the Torah, when people asked angels to disclose their names, they refused; such as in the encounter of Jacob with the angel,[132] and the story of the angel who appeared to Samson’s parents in the Book of Judges.[133] The Jerusalem Talmud comments[134] that reference to angels by name only became common in the period following the return of the Jewish people to Israel in 348 BCE. In the Talmud and Kabbala many more angels are identified by name. Some other commonly known names of angels include Uriel, Reziel, Metatron, and Laila. Here are some of their names and meanings:

 

 

Yoma 37a THE DEPUTY HIGH PRIEST AT HIS RIGHT AND THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY AT HIS LEFT: Rab Judah said:[135] One who walks at his master’s right hand is a boor. [But] we have learnt: THE DEPUTY HIGH PRIEST AT HIS RIGHT AND THE HEAD OF THE [MINISTERING] FAMILY AT HIS LEFT; and furthermore, it was taught:[136] Of three walking along, the teacher should walk in the middle, the greater of his disciples to his right, the smaller one at his left, and thus do we find that of the three angels who came to visit Abraham, Michael went in the middle, Gabriel at his right,[137] Raphael at his left? — R. Samuel b. Papa interpreted [the first saying] before R. Adda: [It is wrong only, if] he [the teacher] be hidden by him — But has it not been taught: One who walks in front of his teacher is a boor, one who walks behind him is arrogant? — [It is assumed here] that he turns sideways.

 

Michael:

 

Every angel is “programmed” to perform certain tasks; such as Michael who is dispatched on missions which are expressions of HaShem’s kindness. In Jude 1:9, Michael is called an Archangel. He is the commander-in-chief of the angels and the guardian of Israel.

 

Michael is said to be a Seraphim according to the Talmud:[138]

 

Berachoth 4b R. Eleazar b. Abina said furthermore: Greater is [the achievement] ascribed to Michael than that ascribed to Gabriel. For of Michael it is written: Then flew unto me one of the Seraphim,[139] whereas of Gabriel it is written: The man Gabriel whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly in a flight etc.[140] How do you know that this [word] ‘one’ [of the Seraphim] means Michael? — R. Johanan says: By an analogy from [the words] ‘one’, ‘one’. Here it is written: Then flew unto me one of the Seraphim; and in another place it is written: But, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me.[141] A Tanna taught: Michael [reaches his goal] in one [flight], Gabriel in two, Elijah in four, and the Angel of Death in eight. In the time of plague, however, [the Angel of Death, too, reaches his goal] in one.

 

Gavriel:

 

Every angel is “programmed” to perform certain tasks; such as Gavriel, who executes HaShem’s severe judgments. Gavriel is also called an Archangel. Gavriel is the master of courage.

 

Shabbath 56b Rab Judah said in Samuel’s name: When Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter, Gabriel descended and planted a reed in the sea, and it gathered a bank around it, on which the great city of Rome was built.[142] In a Baraitha it was taught: On the day that Jeroboam brought the two golden calves, one into Bethel and the other into Dan, a hut was built,[143] and this developed into Greek Italy.[144]

 

Yoma 77a The Holy One, blessed be He, said: Who is it that pleads the merit of my children? They replied: Lord of the Universe, it is Gabriel.

 

Megilah 12b And the queen Vashti refused.[145] Let us see. She was immodest, as the Master said above, that both of them had an immoral purpose. Why then would she not come? — R. Jose b. Hanina said: This teaches that leprosy broke out on her. In a Baraitha it was taught that Gabriel came and fixed a tail on her.[146]

 

Sotah 12b And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river.[147] R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: It teaches that she went down there to cleanse herself of her father’s idols;[148] and thus it says: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion etc.[149] And her maidens walked along etc.[150] R. Johanan said: The word for ‘walk’ means nothing else than death; and thus it says: Behold I am going to die.[151] And she saw the ark among the reeds.[152] When [the maidens] saw that she wished to rescue Moses, they said to her, ‘Mistress, it is the custom of the world that when a human king makes a decree, though everybody else does not obey it, at least his children and the members of his household obey it; but thou dost transgress thy father’s decree!’ Gabriel came and beat them to the ground.

 

Sotah 13b And Joseph was brought down to Egypt.[153] R. Eleazar said: Read not ‘was brought down’ but ‘brought down’, because he brought Pharaoh’s astrologers down from their eminence.[154] And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s bought him, Rab said: He bought him for himself;[155] but Gabriel came and castrated him,[156] and then Gabriel came and mutilated him [pera’], for originally his name is written Potiphar but afterwards Potiphera.[157]

 

Sotah 36b R. Hiyya b. Abba said in the name of R. Johanan: At the moment when Pharaoh said to Joseph, And without thee shall no man lift up his hand etc.,[158] Pharaoh’s astrologers exclaimed: ‘Wilt thou set in power over us a slave whom his master bought for twenty pieces of silver!’ He replied to them, ‘I discern in him royal characteristics.’ They said to him, ‘In that case he must be acquainted with the seventy languages’. Gabriel came and taught [Joseph] the seventy languages, but he could not learn them. Thereupon [Gabriel] added to his name a letter from the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, and he learnt [the languages] as it is said: He appointed it in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out over the land of Egypt, where I [Joseph] heard a language that I knew not.[159] On the morrow, in whatever language Pharaoh conversed with him he replied to him; but when [Joseph] spoke to him in the holy tongue he did not understand what he said. So he asked him to teach it to him; he taught it to him but he could not learn it. [Pharaoh] said to him, ‘Swear to me that thou wilt not reveal this’;[160] and he swore to him. When [Joseph] later said to him, My father made me swear, saying,[161] he remarked to him, ‘Go, ask [to be released from] thine oath.’ He replied to him, ‘I will also ask [to be released from my oath] concerning thee’.[162] Therefore, although it was displeasing to him, [Pharaoh] said to him, Go up and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.[163]

 

Rafael:

 

Every angel is “programmed” to perform certain tasks; such as Rafael, whose responsibility it is to heal.

 

Sandalfon:

 

Chagigah 13b Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel at the bottom hard by the living creatures.[164] R. Eleazar said: [It means] a certain angel, who stands on the earth and his head reaches unto the living creatures. In a Baraitha it is taught: His name is Sandalfon;[165] he is higher than his fellows by a [distance of] five hundred years’ journey, and he stands behind the Chariot and wreathes crowns[166] for his Maker. But is it so? Behold it is written: Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place,’[167] accordingly, no one knows His place![168] — He[169] pronounces the [Divine] Name over the crown, and it goes and rests on His head.[170]

 

Uriel:

 

Uriel is the angel of light.

 

Metatron:

 

Sanhedrin 38b R. Nahman said: He who is as skilled in refuting the Minim as is R. Idith, let him do so; but not otherwise. Once a Min said to R. Idith: It is written, And unto Moses He said, Come up to the Lord.[171] But surely it should have stated, Come up unto me! — It was Metatron[172] [who said that], he replied, whose name is similar to that of his Master,[173] for it is written, For my name is in him.[174] But if so, [he retorted,] we should worship him! The same passage, however, — replied R. Idith says: Be not rebellious[175] against him, i.e., exchange Me not for him. But if so,[176] why is it stated: He will not pardon your transgression?[177] He answered: By our troth[178] we would not accept him even as a messenger,[179] for it is written, And he said unto him, If Thy [personal] presence go not etc.[180]

 

There are many more named angels. The following greatly abbreviated list gives a bit of a hint:

 

Raziel:

 

Raziel is chief of the order of Erelim.

 

Remiel:

 

 

Jeremiel:

 

 

Sabrael:

 

 

Ariel:

 

 

Simiel:

 

 

Haniel:

 

 

Cadmael:

 

 

Zadkiel:

 

XIII. Angelic missions

 

Ramchal reveals that an angel appears to each soul before birth to teach it Torah in preparation for life, but it then has us forget what we’d learned (for the most part) so that we could earn merit studying it.[181] That would explain the real sense of “déjà vu” that many Torah scholars experience in their studies throughout the years. And angels also come into play in the background of every day and certain other extraordinary events in our lives.

 

He also makes the point that each angel has a particular and unique task to fulfill. So when they carry through on HaShem’s demands when it comes to our interactions with Him, they either strive to include what has to be done here into their purview, or they opt out altogether.

 

Ramchal says that, “everything that comes about in the world, both good and bad, takes place with the input of angels”. So there are both” good” and “bad” angels; or better yet, angels that focus upon beneficial outcomes and others that concentrate on harmful ones (known as “angels of destruction”).

 

Angels are “HaShem’s emissaries who bring all of His commands to fruition”.[182]

 

XIV. A Fair Trial

 

Angels are not only summoned by our prayers, but actually born by them. Our sages taught that every human deed creates an angel. Good deeds create angels that advocate for us in heaven. Bad deeds create angels that prosecute us in heaven.[183] The Baal Shem Tov took this to the next level and taught that not only our deeds, but the words we speak also create angels. Our words of prayer not only summon angels; they create angels. These angels are not only the carriers of our words; they are our words.

 

One of the areas where these angels are to be found is at our final judgment.

 

The courtroom for our final judgment is setup in exactly the same way as courts on earth are setup. In the heavenly court we will find a judge, a defense attorney, a prosecutor, and a defendant.

 

We have one serious problem with this court. It must be absolutely fair. There can be no deviation from the truth. There can be no bias, no pre-dispositions, and no day dreaming. Everyone must be … like us!

 

To accomplish this, HaShem has determined that every time we act, during our lifetime, we create an angel.

 

When we judge others, we create an angel who will be our judge in the celestial court. This angel will look like us, talk like us, and act like us at the moment that we were judging others during this lifetime.

 

When we defend others, we create an angel who will defend us in the celestial court in the same way that we defended others. This angel will look like us, talk like us, and act like us at the moment that we were defending others during this lifetime.

 

When we prosecute and accuse others, we create an angel who will prosecute and accuse us in the celestial court in the same way that we prosecuted and accuse others. This angel will look like us, talk like us, and act like us at the moment that we were prosecuting and accusing others during this lifetime.

 

Thus when we are judged, in that final judgment, the judgment will be fair because we are providing all of the cast in the celestial court.

 

To insure the desired results in the final judgment, a man would be very wise to defend vigorously, prosecute fairly and be as lenient as possible. We must learn to judge by looking for all the possible ways in which the circumstance can be judged for the good of a person rather than judged to their detriment. Thus, we have set ourselves up for a favorable judgment.

 

There is only one small problem… We probably have made a few errors in this world. Many of us have provided only a lackluster defense of others. We have often been extremely diligent to prosecute others on the flimsiest of evidence. We have regularly judged others harshly when the evidence gave us the least excuse to do so. In short, we have already set ourselves up for an unfavorable judgment in the celestial court.

 

So, how do we fix up this very bad situation?

 

HaShem has provided a way for us to avoid being summoned to this unfavorable situation. Obviously, if we aren’t summoned then the bailiff will never takes us into custody. The only sure way to avoid a bad judgment is to not be in court at all. How do we avoid the summons and the arrest?

 

To avoid the summons and the arrest we must do teshuva (repent). Teshuva changes us into another person. The person that has created all of those negative angels no longer exists. When the summons is sent to the old address, the one summoned will not be found. This is the only solution to the mess we find ourselves in.

 

I’d advise teshuva, wouldn’t you?

 

* * *


 

Chayot   (חיות) Chayot, are the Living Creatures of  Ezekiel 1:15-21

Ophan/Ophanim  (אופן)   Ophan/Ophanim are the Mystic wheels of Ezekiel 1:15-21, Ezekiel 10:17 and Daniel 7:9

Er'el/Erelim  (אראל)  Valiant ones ;  Isaiah 33:7

Hashmal/Hashmallim  (חשמל)  Electrum ;  Ezekiel 1:4, & Ezekiel 1:27 

Seraph  (שרף)  Isaiah 6:2, & Isaiah 6:6

Eshim/Ishim  (אשים) Eshim ; from the Hebrew-word Passion ( Daniel 10:5-6 )   ( Psalm 104:4 ) 

Malakhim of Jacob's Ladder (מלאכים)  Malakh/Malakhim means Messengers ( Genesis 22:11, & Genesis 28:12, Genesis 31:11-13,  Genesis 48:16 and Exodus 33:2, Numbers 23:31, Isaiah 3:9 & Psalms 91:11 ),

Cherubim   (כרוב)     some mentions; Genesis 3:24, Exodus 25:18-22, Exodus 36:35, Exodus 36:8, Exodus 36:35, Exodus 37:7-9, Numbers 7:89, Psalms 80:1-2, Ezekiel 10:2–14, Ezekiel 28:14-16 & Ezekiel 9:3, 

 


 

 

Bibliography:

 

The Guide For The Perplexed By Moses Maimonides, Translated from the original Arabic text by M. Friedlander, PH.D

 

Maimonides Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah, by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger, Moznaim Publishing.

 

Body, mind and soul: Kabbalah on human physiology, disease and healing, By Yitzchak Ginzburg.

 

 

 

* * *

 

This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

Comments may be submitted to:

 

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian

4544 Highline Drive SE

Olympia, WA 98501

 

Internet address: gkilli@aol.com

Web page: http://www.betemunah.org/

 

(360) 918-2905

 

Return to The WATCHMAN home page

Send comments to Greg Killian at his email address: gkilli@aol.com


 



[1] Chazal = Our Sages.

[2] He interprets: The angels are new every morning.

[3] Halacha 3:3

[4] From a root meaning ‘to send’.

[5] Zohar Vol. I 23b.

[6] Ginzei Ramchal p. 131

[7] Assarah Perakim 9:1; also see Derech Hashem 1:5:10, 2:5:3-4 and Pitchei Chochma v’Da’at 125

[8] Fire, water, earth, and air. See Vol. I, p. 26. These basic elements were first created by G-d, and out of a combination of them. He made man, etc.

[9] Sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.

[10] See Ramban on Genesis 2:17, Vol. I, p. 75.

[11] Chagigah 16a.

[12] Ramban now begins to explain the text quoted on the basis of certain scientific concepts that were prevalent in his times. A prefatory word is in place. The serious student will not look upon these concepts with an eye for criticism. The theory that the whole physical world is founded upon various combinations of four elements, was an Aristotelian legacy which ruled man's minds for a millenium. The extension of that theory into the elusive world of the spirit was logical. That scientists today have moved to other theories to explain the universe and the various phenomena of life, has no bearing upon the explanations which were accepted in the past, for who can foretell what knowledge will do to "the established truths" of today? The important thing in Ramban's presentation of this whole obstruse subject is his final conclusion that only G-d in His Providence exercises power over man's destiny.

[13] I Kings 18:38.

[14] A reference to the forces involved in the movement of the constellations. See my Hebrew commentary p. 96.

[15] The expression is based on Ecclesiastes 10:20: For a bird of the air will carry the voice, and that which has wings will tell the matter.

[16] See Maimonides' "The Commandments," Vol. II, pp. 30-35.

[17] Deuteronomy 18:9.

[18] Ezekiel 12:27.

[19] Deuteronomy 32:17.

[20] See Ramban, Genesis 1 : 3 (Vol. I, p. 25) where he explains the name to mean: e-il (Force), heim (they), the word "they" alluding to all other forces. Thus Elohim means "the Force of all forces."

[21] Jeremiah 10:5.

[22] Heb. רפאל means ‘healer of God’.

[23] Gabriel means ‘strength of God’.

[24] Bereshit (Genesis) 19:1

[25] Ibid. 25

[26] Pirke Avot 4:11

[27] Gen. xviii. 2, xix. 5; Judges, vi. 17, xiii. 6; II Sam. xxix. 9

[28] Gen. xvi. 13; Judges, vi. 21, 22; II Kings, ii. 11; Ex. iii. 2

[29] Job, xv. 15), as the Psalmist says (Ps. civ. 4, R. V.

[30] Gen. vi.

[31] Ps. lxxviii. 25

[32] Bereshit (Genesis) 3:5

[33] The Guide For The Perplexed By Moses Maimonides, Translated from the original Arabic text by M. Friedlander, PH.D

[34] ha-elohim; Exod. xxii. 8

[35] Ibid.

[36] I Shmuel (Samuel) 2:25. E.V. ‘shall judge him’, Elohim may mean either ‘God’ or ‘judge,’ and so the Hebrew verb ‘pallel’ may mean either ‘judge’ or ‘pray’, thus ‘pacify’, ‘forgive’. The two meanings of the words are represented in the two suggestions here.

[37] Yehezechel (Ezekiel) 1:14

[38] Perush

[39] See Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer, Chapter 4; Torat Kohanim, VaYikra.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Kinat Eliyahu

[42] Vol. 1, Chapter 70.

[43] Bereshit (Genesis) 14:29

[44] ibid. 41:43

[45] Shemot (Exodus) 15:4

[46] I Melachim (Kings) 10:21

[47] Yehezechel (Ezekiel) 1:10

[48] The Guide For The Perplexed, Part III, Chapter 1.

[49] Yehezechel (Ezekiel) 1:5

[50] ibid. 1:7

[51] ibid. 1:9

[52] ibid. 1:11

[53] ibid. 1:7

[54] ibid. 1:13

[55] Ibid. 1:17

[56] Ibid. 1:9

[57] Ibid. 1:20

[58] Ibid. 1:17

[59] lit. wheels

[60] Ibid. 1:15

[61] Ibid. 1:16

[62] Ibid. 1:16

[63] Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:7

[64] 2 Shmuel (Samuel) 16:12

[65] In the seventh heaven.

[66] E.g., the second heaven, that of the sun and moon. V. Hag. 12.

[67] Shemot (Exodus) 20:4 in the Ten Commandments.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Vol. III, Chapter 3

[70] lit. wheels

[71] Yehezechel (Ezekiel) 1:15

[72] Ibid. 1:16

[73] Ibid. 1:16

[74] Ibid. 1:11

[75] Bamidbar (Numbers) 11:7

[76] 2 Shmuel (Samuel) 16:12

[77] Yehezechel (Ezekiel) 1:19

[78] Ibid. 1:20

[79] Ibid.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Ibid. 1:16

[82] Ibid 1:20

[83] Ibid. 1:13

[84] Ibid. 1:11

[85] Ibid. 1:20

[86] Ibid. 10:12

[87] ibid

[88] Ibid. 1:20

[89] Yehezechel (Ezekiel) 1:15

[90] Ibid. 1:16

[91] Ibid. 10:13

[92] Ibid. 1:15

[93] Yeremyahu (Jeremiah) 51:25

[94] Bereshit (Genesis) 29:10

[95] Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 17:13

[96] Shemot (Exodus) 29:10

[97] Perush

[98] Tehillim (Psalms) 36:6

[99] Otzar HaMidrashim (Eizenstein), Ketapuach Be’eitzah Hi’ar, 262.

[100] Rabbi’s condition.

[101] אראלים lit., ‘messengers’ (Jastrow); cf. B.H. מלאך Aliter; ‘God’s lions’ (Levy).

[102] מצוקים (rt. יצק ‘to cast’). Aliter; ‘The just’ (Rashi).

[103] Metaph. Rabbi was known as ‘our holy teacher’.

[104] I Chronicles 29:11

[105] Isaiah 19:1

[106] Pl. chashmalim

[107] I.e., the Rabbis.

[108] I.e., the case of the child is exceptional: having a Sage’s understanding of the mysteries of Hashmal, he endangered his life by his speculation; but ordinary readers of Ezekiel would not run any risk.

[109] I.e. חשמל is explained as an abbreviation of ממללות אש חיות

[110] I.e., Hashmal is an abbreviation of ממללות חשות, ‘silent, speaking’.

[111] Body, mind and soul: Kabbalah on human physiology, disease and healing, By Yitsa Ginzburg

[112] Likkutei Torah. Kedoshim

[113] Likkutei Torah, the maamar entitled ViNikdashti, sec. V

[114] Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim 90

[115] Vol. II, p. 251a

[116] Orach Chayim 90:4

[117] Tanach is an acronym for Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim. These are the Hebrew words for Law, Prophets, and Writings. This is what Jews call the Old Testament.

[118] Kinat Eliyahu

[119] Bereshit (Genesis) 3:5

[120] Bereshit (Genesis) 35:10

[121] E.V. God, but the Midrash translates angels, celestial beings, as is justified by the context.

[122] Bereshit (Genesis) 32:29

[123] e.g., Bereshit (Genesis) 3:24

[124] Yehezechel (Ezekiel) 10:7-15

[125] Chaggigah 13b

[126] Vol. III, Chapter 3

[127] Mentioned in Chapter 7, Halachah 1 of the Mishne Torah.

[128] In Hilkhot Yesodei Ha-Torah 7:1

[129] See see Daniel 8:16, 9:21, and 12:1 for exceptions.

[130] It is important to note that we are discouraged from unnecessarily pronouncing the names of angels (unless they are common Jewish names—such as Michael and Gabriel). When HaShem created the angels, He instructed them to go to a person who calls their name. As such, we do not want to “disturb” them unnecessarily (see Taamei Hamitzvot of the Arizal, end of Parshat Vayechi).

[131] 8:16, 10:13, etc.

[132] Genesis 32:30.

[133] Judges 13:19.

[134] Rosh Hashanah 1:2.

[135] Hul. 91a.

[136] ‘Er. 54b.

[137] To the right, somewhat behind him, not next to him, because in the latter case he would cover him and that is unseemly.

[138] See also: Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, Section 1, Page 46b.

[139] Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 6:6.

[140] Daniel 9:21. The meaning is: Michael covered the distance in one flight, without any stop, whereas Gabriel had to make two flights, resting in between. This is inferred from the fact that the word fly occurs twice.

[141] Daniel 10:13

[142] This, of course, is an allegory. Solomon’s unfaithfulness laid the seeds for the dissolution of the Jewish State.

[143] On the site of Rome.

[144] This term was particularly applied to the southern portion of Italy, called Magna Graecia, Cf. Meg. 6b in the ed. Ven. (omitted in later ed.): Greek Italy, that means the great city of Rome, v. Meg., Sonc. ed., p. 31, nn. 5-6.

[145] Esther 1:12

[146] [זנב does not necessarily mean a ‘tail’ but any projection or growth, v. Aruch s.v. זנב.]

[147] Shemot(Exodus) 2:5.

[148] Since immersion is part of the ceremony of conversion, it is assumed that she became a proselyte.

[149] Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 4:4.

[150] Shemot(Exodus) 2:5.

[151] Bereshit (Genesis) 25:32.

[152] Shemot(Exodus) 2:5.

[153] Bereshit (Genesis) 29:1

[154] He interpreted the dreams which baffled them.

[155] For an immoral purpose, being inflamed by Joseph’s beauty.

[156] The Hebrew word for ‘officer’ also means eunuch.

[157] C.f. Bereshit (Genesis) 41:45.

[158] Bereshit (Genesis) 41:44

[159] Tehillim (Psalms) 81:6.

[160] That he was ignorant of Hebrew, and a king was expected to know every language.

[161] Bereshit (Genesis) 50:5 viz., that he should inter his body in Canaan.

[162] In Jewish Law only proper authorities could release a man from his oath. Pharaoh did not wish Joseph to leave Egypt to bury his father.

[163] I.e., if Pharaoh refused him permission, he would take steps to enable him to disclose the king’s ignorance of Hebrew.

[164] Ezek. I, 15

[165] Perhaps from Grk. ** == cobrother. Sandalfon is described as brother of Metatron; v. J.E. vol. XI, pp. 39-40; cf. also Longfellow’s poem ‘Sandalphon’.

[166] I.e., offers up the prayers of the righteous.

[167] Ezek. III, 12.

[168] I.e., the vagueness of the expression ‘from His place’ indicates that God’s place is unknown even to His angels.

[169] I.e., Sandalfon

[170] [MS.M. ‘in its place : i.e., the prayer is effective.]

[171] Ex. XXIV, 1

[172] Name of an Angel, probably derived from metator, guide. In Talmud and Midrash he is regarded notably as the defender of the rights of Israel (cf. Hag. 16a).

[173] Cf. Rashi on Ex. XXIII, 21. The numerical value of Metatron (מטטרָן) is equal to that of שדי (the Almighty) viz. 314.

[174] Ex. XXIII, 21.

[175] תמר is here taken, in the sense of ‘exchange’, from מור.

[176] That he is not to be worshipped, but God alone.

[177] Ibid. Surely, he has no authority to do so.

[178] Lit., ‘we hold the belief.’

[179] Lit., ‘Postman’ — of forgiveness.

[180] Shemot (Exodus) 33:15. [The Min was a believer in the doctrine of two rulers and he sought support for this belief from Shemot (Exodus) 24:1. R. Idith met his argument by showing that even Metatron was accepted by Jews only as guide, and in no sense a second god. For a full discussion of the passage, v. Herford, op. cit. p. 285ff.]

[181] Derech Eitz Chaim

[182] Da’at Tevunot 160; also see Derech Hashem 1:5:10, 2:5:3-4

[183] Pirke Avot 4: 11. See Commentary of Rabbi Ovadiah Bartenurah and Likutei Torah Bamidbar 11a.