Angels going Up & Down (Vayetze)

Jacob “had a dream: a stairway was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of God were going up and down on it”… Usually, we think of angels as being “up high”, in the heavens, but in this story, the angels are going up, first. That means, that they are not on high, but, actually, on earth, right here, all around us.

Angels are part of the Torah from early on: an angel intervenes during the Binding of Isaac; then there are angles who meet Jacob, and on, through the prophets. The word for angle, mal’ach, means “messenger”, a being “programmed” for a particular task. Rav Hirsch explains that mal’ach is connected to melacha, a creative act which is forbidden on Shabbat, each one here to fulfill a very specific purpose. As such, for example, Micha’el is in charge of jobs that are expression of G-d’s kindness; Gavri’el – conducts matters of judgement and Rafa’el deals with healing.

But there’s another kind of angels, those that are being created by us. The sages tell us that “anyone who makes a mitzvah in this world, it is as if he acquires for himself an advocate for the World to Come” – i.e. an angelic being, and vice-versa too. Investing ourselves in positive actions, means creating and adding good energy in the world.

As I read it I wonder: I wholeheartedly believe in the text; after all, it “says so”, and also wonder, can we too open our hearts to notice and feel these angels around us?

Shabbat Shalom.

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