How could angels oppose G-d’s creation of human beings?

The Talmud teaches that an exchange took place between G-d and three consecutive groups of angels before the creation of Adam, the first man. Read more »


Are righteous Gentiles / Noahides helped by Guardian Angels?

Why is the Torah’s concept of angels completely different from that of other religions, especially regarding Guardian Angels?

Read more »


Why did the serpent in the Garden of Eden get a punishment?

Question: If the serpent in the Garden of Eden had no free will, why did it tempt Chava (Eve)? Was it created with an ability to sin? If it didn’t have free will, why did G-d punish it? Read more »


Why was Esau’s angel assigned to the Roman Empire?

The individuals who were major players in the stories recounted in the Book of Genesis are not just isolated persons whose influence ended with their deaths. They represent fundamental spiritual thrusts that continued throughout history in the nations they fathered. Read more »


Which type are the angels for the nations?

The subject of angelology is beyond the scope of the content of our Ask Noah website, but here is a very brief reply.

There are many types and levels of spiritual (i.e. non-physical) beings. More in-depth explanations of these beings can be found in Chassidic teachings. Two general divisions can be made. First, there are those that are on a higher spiritual level than the physical boundaries of space and time as we know them. In Hebrew, these are called malakhim (singular malakh, or malach). Of these, the lowest order are the Ofanim (singular Ofan), which are described in Ezekiel 1:16-18 as being like “wheels within wheels,” with “rims full of eyes.” Spiritually higher than those are the Hayos, described there as having four faces (1:6). Higher than those are the Serafim (singular Seraf) which appear in prophetic visions with a human-like form and six wings (Isaiah 6:2). (Of course the physical terms in these descriptions are really analogies for spiritual powers.)

There are also spiritual beings on a lower level which exist within the boundaries of space and time as we know them. The Sarim (singular Sar) angels, which are the “patron” or “guardian” angels of the seventy nations (such as the Biblical nation of Egypt), belong to this category.


How did the Sages know the names of particular angels?

The Book of Genesis relates events in which Gentiles were visited by angels. For example, the angels Gabriel and Rafael came to the family of Lot in Sodom. (See Rashi on Genesis 18:2.) Gabriel was the angel that came to destroy the metropolis. Rafael was the angel that came to save Lot and his daughters from the destruction. Likewise, we see in Genesis that when Hagar ran away, she was met by several angels. (See Rashi on Gen. 16:7-13.) Why was she not afraid? Because she was accustomed to seeing angels in the home of Abraham and Sarah.

We see from the Hebrew Bible and Midrash that many of the Biblical prophets personally encountered or interacted with angels. These include Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Daniel, etc.

The angelology taught by the Sages was based on prophetic experiences and Divinely-inspired insights of special individuals among them. There have been special individuals in history who reached very high levels of righteousness and perfection. Rambam explained in Mishneh Torah that some people can reach a high level of spiritual perfection. When this happens, they are rewarded by G-d with a spirit of prophecy. In that state of awareness, the person’s consciousness is no longer limited to the physical world. [1] The heavenly realms and/or heavenly beings and their names are also revealed to the person. This may be with open sight, prophetic vision or Divinely-inspired intellectual insight.

There are numerous examples in the Torah and the Books of the Prophets, and from select Torah Sages over the course of history. Their teachings have been passed down as part of the Oral Torah.


[1] See Seven Gates of Righteous Knowledge, the Second Gate: “The Gate of Prophecy from G-d,” by Rabbi Moshe Weiner.


How could the angel of Esau bless Jacob?

According to the Midrash, Genesis 32:25-31 describes how Jacob wrestled with the guardian angel of his brother Esau, and prevailed over him. That happened during the night before Jacob, returning home after an absence of 36 years [1], would have to confront Esau. The “blessing” that the angel was forced to give was his admission and confirmation that Jacob was the rightful recipient of the blessing that his father Isaac had originally wished to give to Esau. Read more »


What does P’niel mean, where Jacob wrestled with the angel?

This name, which Jacob gave to the place where he struggled with the angel of Esau until the break of dawn, appears in slightly different form in the verses Genesis 32:31 and 32:32. In the original Hebrew, it is spelled and pronounced slightly differently in the two verses.

In the first verse, the word is P’niel, which means “my face [is toward] G-d,” in which Jacob was referring to himself.

In the second verse, the word is P’nuel which means “turn to G-d” [i.e., in repentance], which was Jacob’s message to future generations.


Esau had potential to improve. Did his angel have 2 natures?

The angel that wrestled with Jacob through the night, but could not prevail, told him (Genesis 32:27), “Let me go, for dawn has broken.” What is the meaning of this? Read more »


The Edom nations are mighty. Do other nations’ angels accept it?

When G-d elevates a nation to be the greatest power in this physical world, it is accomplished through His elevation of the “guardian angel” of that nation, above all the other angels of the nations. The other guardian angels have no choice or say in this, since it is decreed by G-d.

In the approximately 3500 years since the family of Jacob entered Egypt (Genesis, chapter 46), G-d has decreed several periods of exile upon the Jewish people, in which they were dominated by another nation. In each past case, after a predetermined time G-d released them from the exile they were in (see the Book of Daniel, 8:20-24).

When the Jews must be exiled by another nation, G-d first makes that nation into a great empire. The empires into which they were exiled throughout history were the following:

the Egyptian Empire
the Babylonian Empire
the Persian Empire
the Greek Empire
the Roman Empire (Edom)

The Jews will be released from this final exile (Edom) when the Messiah is revealed in the very near future.


Do angels of the nations have to follow the 7 Laws of Noah?

The Seven Laws of Noah are commandments from G-d for the people of the Gentile nations to follow. Angels don’t have any inclination to rebel against the will of G-d, and they don’t have a set of commandments that they have to follow. For example, they don’t own property, so they have no desire to steal. They aren’t born from a father and mother, so they don’t have parents to honor; etc. G-d’s commandments all have to do with how human beings should think, speak and act within the physical world. The nations of the world need to legally support these commandments, since it should not just be up to the whim of individuals as to whether they will decide to follow these commandments or not. That is covered by the Noahide commandment to establish courts of law, in order to promote the observance of the other six commandments.


Why don’t angels have a free will?

In all of creation, only humans have been given the capacity for freedom of will (which includes free choice), and this gives them the unique capacity to better themselves spiritually. It also gives them the unique capacity to lower themselves spiritually, G-d forbid. Read more »


What are so-called evil angels, if their mission is from G-d?

In the spiritual realms that G-d created, there is a side of “holiness,” which means a revelation of G-dliness, and there is a side of “unholiness,” which means a concealment of G-dliness. The relative amount of holiness and unholiness in each spiritual level defines that level. The “highest” realms have much more holiness than unholiness. The “lowest” realms have much more unholiness than holiness. Our physical world is almost entirely unholiness, with just a bit of holiness. This progressive hiding of G-dliness, culminating in this physical world, allows humans to believe that they are independent entities that exist separate and apart from G-d, Who they can’t physically perceive. Read more »


What does the angel or spirit of Amalek represent?

“Amalek came and battled Israel in Rephidim.” (Exodus 17:8)

“…G-d maintains a war against Amalek, from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:15)

The first Chassidic discourse by the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe (after the passing of his father the 5th Rebbe in 1920 in Rostov, during the Russian Communist Revolution) was on the verse “Amalek is the first among the nations, and in the end he shall be destroyed” [the prophecy of Bilaam in Numbers 24:20]. Read more »


“Sons of G-d” angels (Job 1:6) and Rosh HaShanah

Question: Who are the “sons of G-d” in the verse Job 1:6?


The verse Job (Iyov 1:6) says, “Now the day came about, and the sons of G-d came to stand beside the L-rd, and the Adversary [“Sotahn” in Hebrew], too, came among them.”

In this context, the “sons of G-d” means angels. Rashi explains that this verse is describing a Heavenly event. It took place on the New Year’s Day in the Hebrew calendar, Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is G-d’s appointed day of universal judgment for the entire year. It is the day on which all the creations in all the worlds are judged by G-d. It is also the anniversary of the day that Adam and Hava (Eve) were created. Read more »


Did the angels in Gen. 6:2 sin by taking beautiful women?

Angels are created with intellect (wisdom, understanding and knowledge) that is much greater and on a much higher level than humans. Because they have intellect, they are able to question that which is beyond their intellect – which is the hidden ways of G-d. The Midrash relates several episodes in which groups of angels questioned G-d (i.e. G-d wanted them to question Him, and He allowed this).

In each case, G-d revealed the error behind their questions, and showed to them an aspect of His inner will that was previously hidden from them. This of course resolved that particular question for all time to follow, so it can never be honestly raised again as a question on the justice or truth of G-d’s ways. Read more »


What do angels have to do with the 7 Noahide Commandments?

A person should strive to secure supporting angels for him/herself by following his/her Divine commandments. For the same reason, a person should also strive to do appropriate deeds of goodness and kindness. Read more »