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Ask the rabbi Torah and Jewish Thought Basics of Jewish Faith


Rabbi Ari ShvatShevat 19, 5780
Some times ago, I happen to meet someone who spoke with me about angels. He told me angels have their own name, designations and power and distinct from one another. He mentioned some like Michael, Rafael, Gabriel, etc. My question here, if I may, is do angels have their distinct proper names. If so how do we know them? And as a second or additional question, I would like to know who or what angel is this revolted one named Satan?
Angels are not autonomous and don't have free will. They are simply messengers. Some of the angels have names, like Michael (Daniel 12, 1) and Gavriel (ibid 8, 15-16) are even mentioned in the Tanach where Michael is the one sent to protect the Jewish people, Gabriel appears as a man and/or overcomes obstacles, Raphael is sent to heal. Anyone who knows Hebrew, can usually see the connection between the mission and the name. Satan literally means "obstacle" (see Bamidbar 22, 22), and he also has no free will but his mission is to present challenges. I'm no specialist in Christianity, but apparently Christianity deems great importance to angels, whereas Judaism considers them relatively insignificant, just "doing the job" that God sent them to do.
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