The Angels’ Dispute

August 12, 2012 - 5:00 am

“Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.” — Psalm 85:10–11

Jewish tradition teaches that when God created the world and it came time to create man, the angels began to argue.

The Angel of Love said:  “Create man, for he will do acts of lovingkindness.”

The Angel of Faithfulness argued:  “No, do not create man – he is all lies.”

The Angel of Righteousness countered:  “Create man, for he will do righteous charity.”

But the Angel of Peace claimed:  “Do not make man, for he is quarrelsome.”

What did God do? He took the Angel of Faithfulness and flung him toward the earth. With that, the angels in favor of the creation of man outnumbered those who did not. Man was created.

The Sages explain that the Angel of Faithfulness is concerned with truth and felt that human beings would be incapable of living honestly. When God threw him down to earth, so to speak, it was as if he were throwing down a challenge to mankind. God says:  Prove him wrong! Show him that you can live truthfully!

Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk, a 19th-century Hassidic master, comments on the following phrase: “Faithfulness springs forth from the earth.” He says that in order for truth to flourish, we must first bury the lies. The deeper we bury the lies, the more truth will spring from the earth.

Rabbi Mendel explains that the lies that abound on this earth keep the truth from filling the world. We all know that we live in a world filled with crookedness, dishonesty, and deception. But the mission of humanity is to dispose of these lies and bury them deep underground. When we do that, integrity, truth, and faithfulness will thrive. We will have proved the Angel of Faithfulness wrong.

Rabbi Mendel explains that in messianic times, the angels will reconcile. The dispute over man’s creation will be over. When humanity succeeds at filling the world with truth and faithfulness, the angels will come together in agreement, and then the words of the psalmist will be fulfilled, “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.”


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