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Angels in Judaism


Mysticism and mystical experiences have been a part of Judaism since the earliest days. The Torah contains many stories of mystical experiences, from visitations by angels to prophetic dreams and visions. The Talmud considers the existence of the soul and when it becomes attached to the body. Jewish tradition tells that the souls of all Jews were in existence at the time of the Giving of the Torah and were present at the time and agreed to the Covenant. There are many stories of places similar to Christian heaven and purgatory, of wandering souls and reincarnation. The Talmud contains vague hints of a mystical school of thought that was taught only to the most advanced students and was not committed to writing.

See Archan Publishings "Grimoire of the Angels of Jewish Mysticism"
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The documentation of angels has never been a unique or independent area for study in Judaism. The Western tradition of describing the angels appearance, powers and individual attributes did play a role in esoteric Jewish thought. However, under the influence of mystics and the Holy Cabala angels took on new and complex mythologies involving good versus evil. Unlike the Islamic Tradition in modern times, angels have largely lost their celestial status.

The angel however, is still considered as a celestial entity who serves God. Angels have played an important role in the Jewish tradition for many centuries.

The Biblical name for angel is simply "messenger,” or messenger angel (the Malach). Angels are also identified by the addition of God’s name; as “Angel of the Lord”, or "Angel of God” other references to angels have been "the Holy Ones" and the "Fiery Ones,"

Throughout the Bible, except in certain prophetic books, such as Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Daniel, angels are symbolic extensions of God's power; they possess no independent life, personality or identity of their own, no personal name and no hierarchical rank. It is not until the Book of Daniel, that the first angels names appear. These being the Archangels Michael and Gabriel.

Both these archangels are considered to be the most prominent in Judaism. For it was both these archangels that visited Abraham after his circumcision, and accompanied God when he came down from Mount Sinai.

It is also stated that Michael is made up entirely of snow and Gabriel of fire,and many consider Michael to be superior to Gabriel in rank.

Later the angels Uriel, Raphael, Peniel, Metatron, and many, many others were identified (I Enoch, Tobit, IV Ezra). Satan was also identified as an angel.

Angels are therefore not the only celestial spirits as identified in the Hebrew Bible, other celestial spirits include: the Irinim (Watchers or High Angels), Cherubim (Mighty Ones), Sarim (Princes), Seraphim (Fiery Ones), and Ofanim (Wheels). See Angel hierarchy page – Click here.

Angels appear to man in human forma and are of great beauty, but may initially not be identified as a celestial spirit.

In contract the Islamic belief that they are composed of light, the Hebrew Tradition suggests that the are surrounded by light but composed of fire.

The author of the Book of Daniel was the first to describe the angels characteristics and endow the spirits with their names.

Early Medieval magical works such as Sefer ha-Razim lists hundreds of angels, along with how to influence them to gain their favors and how to use their names in constructing talismans and other magical implements. The text also lists the angels for the months of the year. Click here

Zohar, further expanded upon the Hierocracy of the angels allocating them to seven palaces and ranking them according to the four worlds of emanation (1:11-40).
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The Book of Raziel, another important magical text, which is purported to have been reveled by the angel Raziel to Adam, and which was passed from Adam to Abraham, Moses, and the Prophets in direct succession from father to son, and therefore thought to be a constantly expanding manuscript depending upon who received it.

In essence the Book of Raziel is a magical manuscript giving directions for invoking the angels, that change according to the month, day, and hour, and for using them for a peculiar purpose, such as prophecy.

In a similar vain to the magic of the Egyptians angels could not resist an invocation in his name, providing the invocation was performed correctly, such as at the right time, day and hour.

Consider that originally that since angelic names constituted the most sacred element in mysticism, they were often not written, much less printed; and, in consequence, a number of them remain unknown, other than those researched from the magical tex ted indicated above.

Generally, the occult of the Kabala, and the later Hebrew texts have given us much insight into angels, their roles and rulership's.



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