Ask the Rabbi

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Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

16 Tevet 5766
Who is Metatron? What is his function? Why is he called the "Lesser HASHEM"? And isn’t that an idolatrous statement?Also, I have heard of one story in the Talmud Bavli that records an incident with Elisha ben Abuya, also called Aher ("another"), who is said to have entered Paradise, and saw Metatron sitting down (an action in heaven that is permissible only to God Himself). Elisha ben Abuya therefore looked to Metatron as a Deity, and is reported to have said, "There are indeed two powers in heaven!". How can this be said? Any more light that you can shed on this subject would be most appreciated.
Matatron is a ministering angel. As such, I have no real understanding of his existence; this is all beyond my realm. His name appears hundreds of times in the Midrashic literature and Zohar. He is noted in Midrash as the “minister of the interior” (not to be literally interpreted). Yet there is some dispute about whom exactly he is and what is his main task. The Talmud, Sanhedrin 38b, teaches us that his name is similar to the name of Hashem, not that I know what exactly it means, but this might shed some light on Acher’s misinterpretation of his spiritual vision. I’m not sure of your other comments and the phrase “lesser God” is unknown to me.
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