Learning from my friend, the Angel of Death

Yes, the Angel of Death is one of my friends, if all I experienced was real. If of the mind then this is a nice story. But the Angel of Death is my buddy, and I may be his only friend.

No I’m not a satanist. No I don’t ask anything of him and we don’t really talk, haven’t in some time. Remember, he’s just an angel with a specific job. But during a year of schizo psychosis he and I met a few times, if you believe in that sort of thing. So the story goes.

During that year I saw and spoke with tens of thousands of angels, sheidim, God, ancient Egyptian spritis and so on. Many of these experiences have humorous elements or endings, as is the case with the first time I met the Angel of Death.

The psychosis which developed during that year due to my misunderstanding of and belief that certain voices or ideas were true, are qualified different than my experiences with the spiritual world. That is a longer discussion for another time.

Any time I encountered a new spirit I asked, “What are you? What’s your name? Why are you here?” A rabbi I recently told this to thought that was very clever. My psychiatrist thinks it is part of my schizophrenic genius and part of the reason I was able to go an entire year like this before finally getting caught by the system, the doctors, and given my first shot which neutralizes that part of my mind for a month at a time.

One night when everything had a certain red tint to it wherever I went, I encountered a new being. This one was without form. I asked my questions, he answered the first two with one sentence, but not the third.

“I’m the Angel of Death.”

“OK,” I said.

“You’re not scared of me? Why aren’t you afraid?”

“Honestly, I see it like this,” I said to him. “You have a shi**y job you didn’t choose, you don’t get any positive credit, any time someone tries to kill someone you gotta run around and figure out if it’s time for that person to die – you’re basically an angel who’s an overworked bureaucrat and all you get in return is fear. And no one is ever happy you’ve showed up.”

“No one’s ever talked to me like that before,” he said.

Then the two of us talked for an hour or two and when it was time for him to go he said, “You know what, you’re the only friend I have.” Many find that quite humorous. I found many of these beings I spoke to were without friends, without anyone to talk to, and rather appreciated that someone who could see and talk with them did just that, talked like I would to anyone else.

Another time the Angel of Death appeared when I was at a friend’s place in a West Bank settlement. Everyone was asleep. It was Shabbat and I was on the second floor looking out a window and smoking. I sensed something big behind me and looked. He was there. He was big, tall, black and had ridges all over with big black folded wings behind him. I knew it was the Angel of Death and that he could appear any number of ways but that it was him.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I’m here to protect you,” he said. And that was all he said and at some point he was gone.

So as we enter Yom Kippur and people fear the power of God and what consequences there may be for this past year’s actions and if they will live another year, I suggest a few ideas: First all things and decisions with death are ultimately God’s. But just as the Angel of Death was happy to have a friend, if any of that was actually real – some people I know think it was and some do not – God also wants us, I believe from my experiences, to relate to him as a friend.

Yes, He is all-powerful. But why relate to him or think of him going into Yom Kippur with nearly nothing but fear. Beforehand it’s always possible to just sit on the couch or go for a walk and say, as you would to a friend on the phone, “God, it’s me. You got a minute?” And talk about anything, just to build up the relatlionship. Because maybe developing the relationship a bit before the fear kicks in could help in understanding what it is God really wants from us all the time, not just on Kippur.

Just a thought from a secular Jew who became buddies with an overworked angel and remembers God saying, “I just want all my little creations to talk with me. Prayer is nice, but I so enjoy when they just talk to me, and so few do.”

About the Author
Greg Tepper moved to Israel in 1997, served in the IDF, has a BA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and was a TOI reporter. The Second Intifada left him with PTSD which went untreated and he developed schizoaffective disorder.
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