Thursday, August 16, 2018

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What to do with an Angel?

   by Reb Gutman Locks


     Here's the problem. Before kiddush, Friday night, we sing, "Shalom Aleichem." The Talmud tells us that we are singing to the two the angels who accompanied us home from davening. This seems alright, welcoming the angels… but then one of the phrases says, "Bless me with peace, angels of peace, messengers of the Most High…" Are we really asking the angels for a blessing? Isn't that praying to an angel?

     Because of this question Rav Moshe Feinstein's father skipped that phrase at his table. Rav Moshe was one of the greatest sages in our day, so if his father didn't say it then certainly it seems that there could be a problem with saying these words.

     But didn't Yaacov Avinu (our father) do the same thing when he was wrestling with an angel?[i] He asked the angel to bless him… so how can there be a problem with asking an angel for a blessing? But, we know for a fact that we pray ONLY to Hashem. How can we resolve this problem?

     The renowned Rav Shalom Zalman Auerbach answered the question for us in a most beautiful way. He said, "A Jew is allowed to tell an angel to do its job."

     Hashem sent that angel to give us a blessing, so it is perfectly alright for us to ask to receive it.

     From this we learn the proper way to give a blessing. When a Jew asks another Jew for a blessing, the Jew giving the blessing should not say, "I bless you that …." Instead, he should say, "May Hashem bless you that .…"

     Hashem listens to the prayers of even the simplest Jew, so all proper blessings can be welcomed.

     Hashem bless you.

[i] Genesis 33:27

1 comment:

  1. Reb Gutman

    Thank you.
    This is a very instructive post.
    Shabbat Shalom


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