Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gavriel On Paganism

י"ח חשון תשס"ת
Phasma Priscus 20

From Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah on Gavriel, the angel of fire:

There are numerous passages in the Talmud that associate Gavriel with control of fire. This would certainly be consistent with the fashioning of the Menorah which obviously has a lot to do with fire. A closer look at a number of Talmudic passages about Gavriel reveal another side to this angel.

The Talmud relates that when Abraham was a young man he was sentenced to death by King Nimrod for being a monotheist anti-pagan. He was thrown into a fiery furnace. It was Gavriel - the angel of fire - who saved him. (Shabbat 118a)

Yes, it is Gavriel who saves Avraham from his skewed anti-pagan agenda ...

Gavriel was the angel sent to carry out the destruction of Sodom and Gemorrah. (Bava Metzia 86b) When Tamar was wrongfully accused of harlotry by Yehudah, it was Gavriel who protected and preserved the evidence of the justice of her case. (Sotah 10a) It was Gavriel who ensured that Mordechai's saving of King Achashverosh was recorded in the King's memoirs. (Megilah 16a)

From these and other passages (see also Sanhedrin 19b, Shabbat 56b) Gavriel emerges as an angel concerned with justice. He protects the wrongfully accused from unjust punishment, punishes the truly guilty, and seeks to ensure just reward for those who deserve it. In Kabbalistic terms, Gavriel occupies the left side - associated with the attribute of gevurah, i.e. strength or judgment.

... and walks on fire with me.

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