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Satan

Rabbi Chaim TabaskyIyyar 26, 5768
540
Question
I have been trying to find out for many years is satan a fallen angel or just a reference to the inclinations of our human flesh. There seem to be many references in the Tenach with the meaning simply "the adversary", but there can be many different adversaries to our walk in Torah, thus this to me doesn’t explain his origin, being purpose,agenda,status. I understand that G-d is One and supreme over all but I struggle with the different theologies out there on this subject. Can you help please ...Ray W
Answer
The term "fallen angel" is not compatible with most Jewish sources about the term "satan". It was popularized to a great extent by Christian writings, like Milton's "Paradise Lost" In the Book of Job, Satan is an angel, a member of the Divine court, who challenges the judgement that man is worthy. We also find the term satan refering to any interference with the worship of G-d, whether from outside or inner sources. G-d created a world in which man is challenged to recognize G-dliness in all aspects of being, notwithstanding the fact that G-d has "hidden" Himself, and, as it were, asked us to locate Him and bring His reality to the point of open Knowledge. That which makes it difficult for man to accomplish this task can be referred to as "Satan". The association of satanic with things that are cruelly evil is not correct. Satan refers to the aspects of creation that make our task more difficult, but it is precisely this difficulty which makes service of Hashem worthwhile. The question of Satan relates directly to the problem of evil in the world. Although we do not understand easily how the Most Merciful could allow the type of evil that we witness in the world, we may be able to grasp that a world without evil would also be a world in which we would face no spiritual and moral challenge. It is precisely the difficulty of the challenge the informs our Avodat Hashem (service of G-d) with its spiritual dignity.
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