- Torah and Jewish Thought
- General Questions
who or what are angels? are they who or what? do they have at least little power of will? what do they have and what don’t they have? whats their mission??? who is satan? from iov?
Angels are not autonomous and don't have free will. They are simply messengers. Certain angels have names mentioned in the Tanach, like Michael (Daniel 12, 1) and Gavriel (ibid 8, 15-16) where Michael is the one sent to protect the Jewish people, Gabriel overcomes obstacles, Raphael is sent to heal. Anyone who knows Hebrew, can usually see the connection between the mission and the name. According to Judaism, only God and man have independence and free will to choose to do good or bad. Accordingly, angels, like animals, don’t have free will and are simply robot-like messengers (malach, in Hebrew, the word for angel and messenger), sent to do their particular mission (e.g. germs). Satan, literally means stumbling block, and like all other angels, has no free will and therefore obviously can’t rebel. It is a term used in Hebrew for many types of tests or challenges which God sends us in life, often used interchangeably with the “evil inclination” (Bava Batra 16a) which we all have, and man’s role is to destine his fate. In the beginning of the Book of Iyov (Job), the issue of testing or challenging Iyov’s faith in G-d is creatively worded figuratively as a conversation between G-d and Satan, but even the most elementary educated Jew knows that G-d, by definition is perfect and all-knowing. Accordingly, He knows the future and the seeming conversation or debate is obviously just a literary style and cannot be taken simplistically by pure monotheists. I'm no specialist in Christianity, but have seen that Christians deem great importance to angels, whereas Judaism considers them relatively insignificant, just "doing the job" that God sent each one to respectively do.