Sleeping with four angels

Every night, ever since I was a little boy, as I lay my head on the pillow before entering the world of dreams, I recite the prayer that my father taught me.

“Mi yemini Michael (on my right is Michael) u’mi smoli Gavriel (and on my left is Gabriel), milfanai Uriel (before me is Uriel) u’mai achorai Rafael (and behind me is Rafael) u’mi al roshi Shchinat El (and above my head is the presence of God).”

These four angels are considered the archangels of the Jewish people. Nevertheless, they were also so regarded by Zoroastrian faith and were incorporated into the angelology of the Christian church.

The Greek word for angel is “angelos” and the Hebrew word is “malach” which means a messenger.

Therefore, angels are considered to be messengers of God. For so many years I have been going to sleep with four distinguished angels. But if they have left me messages, when I awake in the morning all has been forgotten.

Our patriarch Abraham was the first Hebrew to greet angels, although he was not aware of who they were. They brought him a message that soon his wife Sarah would give birth to a child. In his rejoicing at the good news he slaughtered an animal and prepared a feast for his guests.

Both Jews and Arabs, sons of Abraham, have followed fastidiously the custom of hospitality to guests.

The first mention of angels is in Genesis 16:7 when an angel appears to Hagar in the wilderness when she fled from Sarah’s abuse. They continue to be mentioned at the binding of Isaac, in Jacob’s dream, and when Jacob wrestled with an angel.

In the later prophetic writings they are often described as having wings and are given anthropomorphic forms. In the Talmud and in the Kabbalistic writings many angels are given names, the most popular one being Metatron.

Each of God’s messengers are assigned a specific task to perform. For example, Michael goes on a mission to demonstrate God’s kindness. Gavriel goes on a mission to announce God’s severe judgments and punishments. And Rafael is sent to heal the sick.

In Jewish mystical thought, angels have no free will and no free choice. They must only do the task which God has assigned to them, whereas humans have the freedom to accept or to reject God’s message.

The Kabbalah states that every human being has a personal angel… a guardian angel, if you will, to protect him from harm and to bring him a message from God that he is loved.

Today I “discovered” an angel, this one in human form and without wings. He is an avid daily reader of THE TIMES OF ISRAEL and he frequently writes a message of reply under one of my articles which he enjoyed reading. His words are warm, caring and compassionate to a stranger whom he knows only through reading.

I had tried for some time to find a way of connecting to him to thank him for his words of tribute. At my request to my editor to find a way of reaching him, she was not able to find a connection but suggested that I search for him on Facebook.

I almost never use Facebook….maybe only three or four times in a year. I lack the literary skills of connecting with the new world and its gadgets. But today I tried and sent a brief message giving my email address.

And whether it was Michael, Gavriel, Uriel, Rafael or Metatron, a messenger from on High responded to my wish and lo and behold, I received a lovely message from a devoted reader.

Perhaps you may think that this has no connection to angels. But you would be wrong. If an angel is a malach, a messenger, than he heard my wish for a connection with a friend whom I have never met and I was privileged to receive a reply and a connection.

If, as the Kabbalah states that each one of us has a personal angel, then I have found my angel. Only I do not know his hidden name.

Tonight, as I lay my head upon my pillow and recite my nightly prayers, I shall be happy to know that I am sleeping peacefully with four angels watching over me.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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