Allen S. Maller
Allen S. Maller

The Mal’ach HaMavet and the Tree of Life (part 2 a&b)

The Mal’ach HaMavet-the Angel of Death and the Tree of Life were created on the same day, several billion years ago.

2a) In the beginning old age didn’t exist. When hunting animals slowed down or were wounded they could not eat and starved to death. When prey animals slowed down or were disabled they were eaten.

With the creation of humans old age appeared. Humans fed and protected the infirm and the elderly. The human population multiplied greatly and spread throughout the world. Larger human populations increased the deadliness of disease.

Then humans (Shamans, Medicine Women etc.) discovered the power of prayer and ritual to heal, as it says, “At that time mankind began to invoke the name of the Lord.” (Genesis 4:26)

The angel Raphael (God heals) became the opponent of the Malach HaMavet-the Angel of Death. In recent generations humans became major allies of Raphael through modern medicine. The 95% decline in infant mortality resulted in a 50% increase in AVERAGE life span. Drugs and surgery multiplied the percentage of people reaching old age.

Modern medicine seemed to provide miracles that Raphael couldn’t. Humans began to think they could conquer the Angel of Death. Then convalescent homes spread throughout the land and people began to realize that “There is a time to be born and a time to die. (Ecclesiastes 3:2)

Now humans know why both Raphael and the Malach HaMavet are Angels of God. After all, as Jonathan Swift once said, “Everyone wants to live forever, but no one wants to be old.”

2b) The Creator of the world called all the angels together and asked for a volunteer to serve as the Malach HaMavet-the Angel of Death, for human beings. No one volunteered.

The Holy One asked the angels why no one wanted the job. After a few moments of silence one angel replied, “Whoever serves as the Angel of Death will get blamed and cursed for taking away people’s loved ones. We want to help people not hurt them.”

The Holy One said, “Do not worry. Most people will pin the fault on everything else instead. They will blame the doctor, the person’s sins, or lack of will, or old age. They will even blame themselves for lack of foresight; if only I, I should have etc. But they will not see the Malach HaMavet at work.

Another angel, Raphael’s older brother, spoke up saying, “I have three objections. The job is unjust, unfair and unnatural. Good people will die young, while bad people will live long. Young people will die much to soon. And people will not understand why their loved ones can’t live as long as oak trees.”

The Creator responded, “First, I will give the Torah to Israel and then most people who live a good self-disciplined life will live longer than most self-indulgent bad people, for Torah says: “I offer you the choice of life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life and then you and your descendants will live; love, obey and embrace the Lord your God for that is life and length of days for you.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Faithful people will measure life spans qualitatively as well as quantitatively.

Second, there will come a time at the end of days when “No child will ever again die an infant, no elderly person fail to live a full life, and every youth shall live a hundred years before dying. (Isaiah 65:20)

Third, people will learn that long life has its own serious problems. “The trees of the field are not humans.” (Deuteronomy 20:19) Trees don’t get Alzheimer’s. Many illnesses can afflict the elderly but there is nothing ‘wrong’ with an elderly person who dies.

Indeed, there will come a time when convalescent homes spread throughout the land and many people will pray for the Malach HaMavet to come. They will be quick to blame you for coming to late; at last realizing that the Malach HaMavet is indeed an Angel of God.

Several angels then volunteered to be a Malach HaMavet. The Holy One chose Raphael’s older brother: Satan. After all, “Better an easy death than a hard [end of] life.” Yiddish Proverb

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 450 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.
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