Angels Among Us

Angels Among Us October 4, 2011

Once upon a time, in the nineteenth century when Reform Judaism was on the road to rational thinking, the editors of its prayer books took a big red pen to the “angelology.”  This was their term for the sections in the traditional siddur (prayer book) that talked about the angels.  It’s big in the K’dushah prayer (“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts…”) for example.

Well that rational trend was reversed in the 1970s with the release of Gates of Prayer.  Its just published replacement, Mishkan T’filah, also sports angel imagery.

Now consider the effect such nonsense is having on the lay people.

In the most recent issue of Reform Judaism, there is an article by a lay person entitled “Encounters of the Angelic Kind.”  He learned from a student rabbi about a character in the Joseph story who is taken by interpreters to be an angel.  This led him to all kinds of wildly supernatural connections about his own life and how he had been led by a [sic] melakh elohim (angel of God).  Every little coincidence or decision is described by him to be a signal of the presence of these “messengers.”  As he writes:

So, the next time you are thinking about the twists and turns your life has taken, why not stop for a moment to consider the melakh elohim in your life.  The answer may surprise.

This is just silly magical thinking.  It’s demonstrative of how people are unable or unwilling to accept a natural world devoid of presences or ghosts or angels.  There are perfectly good psychological reasons to feel these presences, but that doesn’t make them real.

The fact that such silliness takes up a whole page in their namesake magazine just shows how intellectually bankrupt Reform Judaism has become.


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