Angels

Messengers of God who appear in traditional texts--but discomfort some Jewish thinkers.

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In one passage in the Talmud it is said that angels accompany a man wherever he goes except when he goes to relieve himself. Before a man enters the privy he should address a special apology to the angels for his having to take leave of them.

Among many modern Jews, belief in the existence of angels is very peripheral. Even when those parts of the liturgy referring to angels are still maintained, they are understood more as sublime poetry than as theological statements. However, there are comparatively few outright denials of the actual existence of angels and some Jews, even today, look upon belief in angels as an important part of the religious life.

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Rabbi Louis Jacobs

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism.