Thursday, August 24, 2023

Angels - Rav Tzadok

Rav Tzadok (Sichos Malachei HaShareish 3) the issue of the existence of the spiritual angels is explicitly and clearly stated in the Bible in many places. Even though there are those who are contrary and insist on explaining that many of these statements are referring to prophets or human messengers from G-d- contrary to the words of our Sages – nevertheless there are still many places where it is impossible to give those explanations and they are in describing spiritual angels I don’t want to belabor the point and explain what these sources actually mean contrary to those who belittle the words of our Sages and don’t believe in the wisdom of our chachomim in both talmuds and in medrashim which have been accepted as authoritative by all Jews. That is because my purpose is not to criticize and explain their errors since it is prohibited to answer a Jewish heretic because it could lead to his taking a more extreme position as our Sages have said. Because we are believers in their words and observers of their warnings (Sanhedrin 38b according to Rashi). And anyway our answers will not be accepted by them. It is quite obvious that there is no limit to their nonsensical words and they are capable of twisting and distorting  something that is completely straight and obvious. Our sole concern is to explain the words of our Sages and thus the Truth to those who believe in them. We are not responsible for the fools who distort and deny the Oral Torah, It already happened during the days of the second Temple with the Tzadokim and they are still functioning  amongst us – G-d should send His holy help  and destroy these weeds from our vineyard And  the words of our Sages have already sufficiently and clearly explained the existence of Angels, It is on their words that this pamphlet is based. They have told us that wherever an angel is mentioned in the Bible  it is a spiritual angel and not a physical  prophet or other being.

The main point is that I am going to explain what is necessary to know from the point of the Jewish faith and in particular what is lost by believing that G-d Himself does everything i,e. why was it necessary to create the spiritual angels?

Obviously this is a nonsense question for believing Jews who know the truth since the Torah testifies to its truth as do the true scholars so how could there be a question? If you say it concerns the belief in Angels, But a person who does not believe in them is like one who doesn’t believe that Jerusalem exists in the land of Israel since he never saw it himself. Such a person’s views are rejected and refuted and he is considered crazy and a fool

If, the question is why was it necessary for G-d to create them?

The same question occurs as to why it was necessary to create snakes and insects some of them causing harm and are damgerous and some are so small and can not be seen with the unaided eye but are only seen with a microscope.

Similarly there are many types of plants which seem worthless which our Sages have talked about (Bereishis Rabbah 10, Vayikra Rabbah and Kohles Rabbah) and explained that all are needed (this is also discussed in Shabbos(77b) and Berachos (31b)

 We in fact do not know why the world could not be created without them and yet we think with our puny minds that the world could properly function without them.  In addition our senses tell us that these exist and of their obvious creation without a doubt and they can not be denied so surely concerning creatures  such as Angels which are large sized and extremely beneficial – even though they are also hidden from our physical eyes.  Thus we (the descendants' of Avraham Yitzchok and Yaakov) are forced to rely on testimony of the Torah and the true scholars to know why they are necessary.It is also possible  to find various benefits from them and furthermore this is combined with the words of the philosophers and non Jewish scholars. The philosophers have conducted investigations regarding their characteristics as is noted by the sefer Ikkarim (2:12) However we will not follow that approach of bringing arguments and proof and evidence because that is prohibited as I have written. We are also not utilizing philosophic reasons which are inherently frivolous nonsense to those who adhere to the Torah. Furthermore Torah awareness is not like Non Torah reasoning as is noted in Sefer Ikkarim, My sole concern is to clarify to those who already believe the truth as we have been taught according to the words of our Sages who are the true scholars. I will answer this question from the Torah perspective since this question came about because of the nonsense of non Torah understanding regarding Creation and only believing what they can see.

[to be continued]

This is puzzling since the view Rav Tzadok attacks is stated in Medrash Rabba!

Bereishis Rabbah (75:04) 4. MALAKIM-E.V. MESSENGERS (XXXVII, 4). These were none but human messengers. The Rabbis said: It means literally angels. If an angel escorted Eliezer, who was but a servant of the house,1 how much the more this one [Jacob], who was the beloved of the house! R. Hama b. Hanina observed: Hagar was but Sarah's handmaid, yet five angels appeared to her; how much the more then to this man [Jacob], who was the beloved of the house! R. Jannai said: Joseph was the youngest of the tribal ancestors,2 yet three angels met him, as it is written, And a certain man found him... and the man asked him... and the man said: (Gen. XXXVII, 15 ff.).3 Then how much the more this one Jacob], who was the father of them all!


  1. "That
    is because my purpose is not to criticize and explain their errors since it is
    prohibited to answere a Jewish heretic because it could lead to his taking a
    more extreme position as our
    Sages have said."

    But doesn't the Mishna Avot say "know what to answer the heretic". Or is the later version to know what the answer is, but not answer them?

  2. OK, thank you , this is what I found

    Rambam - "Know what to answer a heretic" - you need to

    learn things that you can use to answer a gentile apikorus and debate

    with them and answer them if they ask you. Our sages taught: "this

    applies only to a gentile apikorus, but for a Jewish one, all the more

    so, he will become more heretical" (Sanhedrin 38)., i.e. he will

    increase to mock (and one who answers him will transgress (Vayikra

    19:14): "do not put a stumbling block before a blind man" - Meorei Ohr).

    Due to this, there is no need to speak to him at all and there is no remedy and no medication for him whatsoever, as written: "none who go to her return, neither do they attain the ways of life"

    (Mishlei 2:19). They further said: "although you may learn the views of

    the gentiles to know how to answer them, but guard yourself to not put

    to heart (i.e. accept) anything of those views and know that He whom you

    stand before knows the hidden (thoughts) of your heart. Thus, he

    continued: "know before Whom you toil", i.e. that you align (kavin) your

    heart with emuna (faith) of G-d.

  3. from sanhedrin 38b:

    תנן התם ר"א אומר הוי שקוד ללמוד תורה ודע מה שתשיב לאפיקורוס אמר ר' יוחנן ל"ש אלא אפיקורוס (של) עובדי כוכבים אבל אפיקורוס ישראל כ"ש דפקר טפי § We learned in a mishna there (Avot 2:14): Rabbi Eliezer says: Be persistent to learn Torah, and know what to respond to the heretic [la’apikoros]. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This was taught only with regard to a gentile heretic, but not with regard to a Jewish heretic, as one should not respond to him. All the more so, if one does respond he will become more heretical. His heresy is assumed to be intentional, and any attempt to rebut it will only cause him to reinforce his position.


    either all apikorsim lack the ability to reason, or the the arguemnts of the rabbis are not rational enough to convince "heretics", through means of reason alone.
    There is a 3rd option - someone can be a skeptic, agnostic, or apikores, but be intellectually honest. In this case, it is only the lack of good argumentation that will not succeed bringing him back to Torah.

  4. Angels appear throughout the Tanach, people are visited by Angels, who then disappear.
    Today we do not have nevuah, and we are not clear i angels appear or not, and even if they do, what tools do we have to determine if they are angels?

  5. “Angels” Chullin 91b
    “The he said Let me go, for dawn is breaking. But he answered him I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:27). [Jacob] said to him, Are you a thief or a rogue that you are afraid of the morning? He replied: I am an angel, and from the day that I was created my time to sing praises [to the Lord] had not come until now. This [that angels sing praises, or that they are limited to an allotted time for song (Tosaf.)] supports the statement of R. Hananel in the name of Rab. For R. Hananel said in the name of Rab: Three divisions of ministering angels sing praises [to the Lord] daily; one proclaims: Holy, the other proclaims: Holy, and the third proclaims: Holy is the Lord of Hosts [Isa. VI, 3]. An objection was raised: Israel are dearer to the Holy One, blessed be He, than the ministering angels, for Israel sing praises to the Lord every hour, whereas the ministering angels sing praises but once a day. (Others say: Once a week; and others say: Once a month; and others say: Once a year; and others say: Once in seven years; and others say: Once in a jubilee; and others say: Once in eternity.) And whereas Israel mention the name of God after two words, as it is said: Hear, Israel, the Lord [“Hear שמע, O Israel ישראל! The lord is our God, the lord alone אחד.” Deuteronomy 6:4 ] etc., the ministering angels only mention the name of God after three words, as it is written: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord of hosts [“And one would call to the other, Holy, holy, holy, The Lord of Hosts; His presence fills the earth מלא כל הארץ כבודו!” (Isaiah 6:3].

    Hertz Chumash p. 124: “The opponent’s anxiety to escape before ‘the day breaketh’ suggests to the patriarch’s mind that he was a supernatural Being. Jacob, therefore, demanded a blessing as the price of relief.” Beautiful.


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