June 20, 2006

[m., pl. “Malachim”]; a messenger; frequently used in the sense of a “messenger of G-d;” that is, an angel. An example is found in Yaakov’s dream, in which he was shown a vision of a “Sulam mutzav Artzah, ve-hineh Malachei Elokim olim ve-yoredim bo,” “a Ladder reaching to Heaven, with Angels of the L-rd ascending and descending upon it” (Bereshit 28:12). Another example, where both “messenger” in the human sense and “angel” in the heavenly sense are possible, is found in Bereshit (32:4) where the verse reads, “And Yaakov sent ‘messengers’ to Esav, his brother,” where one Midrash says that, because of his close relationship with the Master of Heaven, he was actually permitted to dispatch angels on this mission.