I have become increasingly interested in Angels. The subject is all around us in the secular and Christian world. Tons of angel jewellery and tons of facebook postings talking about various and sundry angels guiding us, protecting us and being among us.
The angels are always the same. Long. flowing white robes. Flowing hair and beautiful, glowing skin. Looks of tranquility and serenity. They are G-d’s messenger’s right? But what does this all mean on a Jewish level? Do we believe in angels in the same way that Christians do? That the secular world does?
This was an intriguing question and so I went to my rabbi with it but he didn’t have much experience with it and pretty much just referred me to Amazon. I looked and looked for something to explain how Jews view angels and finally found a great resource – “A Gathering Of Angels – Angels in Jewish Life and Literature” by Morris R. Margolis.
There’s a great rundown of all of the famous and not so famous angels throughout Jewish tradition – Michael, Rafael, Gabriel, Uriel, Metatron, even Satan who started life out as an angel and who, debatably, may still BE an angel.
The topic of this #BlogELUL is “DO” and this brings me to my point.
Margolies carefully explains that the concept of angels may really be that the “angel” may be a component of our neshama or soul. Each of us have the aspect of the angel within us. For example, Gabriel represents courage. We summon Gabriel when we need courage in one way or another but the truth is that is the Gabriel within us. Jacob wrestled Gabriel in a situation when he needed courage…was he wrestling the angel or was he really wrestling with himself?
Of course the book goes into much more detail about angels and explores different aspects of them and not just this one. I recommend it if you have an interest in exploring a Jewish outlook on angels and not just accepting the popular culture viewpoint. Sometimes it corresponds and sometimes it doesn’t – as we find with a lot of our deep and wonderful tradition.
It’s interesting to think about this since we, as Jews, are constantly surrounded with the charming, beautiful, angelic creatures so expounded in popular culture called “angels.” The truth, however, isn’t as pretty.
Angels aren’t necessarily a beautiful, willowy, creature that comes and does things FOR us. They are parts of us that contain the good that we can possess and do and they are parts of us that can contain the evil that we can possess and do. It just depends on how we call them forward.
In the end, it’s all about what we DO and HOW we do it. We can be angels of good and bring peace, harmony and abundance to the world or we can be angels of destruction and destroy the gardens that G-d has given to us to enjoy and walk through. It is our choice and our destiny to make these choices every single day.