Of Humans and Angels

 A man does not have to be an angel in order to be a saint.  -Albert Schweitzer

helping hand with the sky background

In Hebrew, the word for “angel” can be more literally understood as “messenger.” The Sfat Emet explores in 5636 (1876) and 5637 (1877) both the similarities and differences that humans have with angels.

Angels are divine messengers in that they are constantly on a mission for God. Humans are also messengers of God and have their divinely ordained missions; though we often are not aware what that mission may be, and if we are aware of the mission, do not necessarily fulfill it.

Angels have no choice but to fulfill their missions and the successful completion of their tasks does not change them in anyway.

Humans however, who do complete their tasks are in a sense rectified, made more whole, more complete, when they accomplish a divinely ordained job. There are missions that an individual and only that individual is uniquely suited to fulfill – and if he does not – the world remains diminished as a result. It can take a lifetime for a person to find that mission – or he may be able to do it every single day of his life.

There is another type of mission that is more common, with clearer guidance and instructions. It requires no soul-searching to uncover. In fact, its details have been written in black and white for thousands of years and have been passed down lovingly for generation upon generation, from father to son, teacher to student. It is the Torah. It is God’s instruction manual to us how to live a moral, meaningful life full of joy and accomplishment and contains the very secrets of eternal life. That is a mission that is open to all.

However, whether it is the communal mission or the personal individual mission, there is an angelic component in all of us ready to see it through.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ben-Tzion

Dedication

To the Fremd family and the Jewish community of Paysandu. Out of tragedy and sorrow we have seen incredible strength and unity. May we all be consoled.

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