Angels (2)

There are a few more points to be made about the angels’ makeup and their role in God’s governance, though, before we can go on to Ramchal’s remarks about them.

They haven’t physical bodies [1]; they often function as God’s “entourage” (Shir HaShirim Rabbah 8:11) aside from being His agents and consultants; there are “good” and “bad” ones (Shabbat 119b); and despite their functions they’re still and all subordinate to man (Sifre, Ha’azinu 306).

Now Ramchal’s view of them.



[1]          Rambam depicts them as “having no body” but as still being “forms that are distinct from each other” despite the fact that they haven’t bodies, which would ordinarily distinguish them from each other (Yesodei HaTorah 2:3). It’s clear that one of the reasons why he made that point was to differentiate angels in their natural state from how they appear in Tanach in human form (Ibid. 2:4). Cordovero remarks, though, that they’re spiritual entities indeed, but they’re also comprised of “subtle, spiritual material (substance)”, which is to say that they’re physical “while in the physical realm, but spiritual in the spiritual realm” (Shiur Koma 16).

(c) 2010 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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