Shavuos II (Bamidbar): What Does An Angel Look Like?

May 27, 2022

People are always looking for guidance. For every aspect of life, there are mentors and guides and therapists and trainers. What does the Torah say of the matter? Who is worthy of your trust? And how do angels fit into the picture?

השיעור לפ’ במדבר נתרם

לעילוי נשמת הרה”ח ר’ יששכר דוב בן ר’ יונה ע”ה ווייס. נלב”ע כ”ז אייר ה’תשע”א. ע”י נכדיו ר’ לוי יצחק וזוגתו מרת רבקה ומשפחתם שיחיו לוויטין

A. The Rebbe’s Personal Request

In 1986, the Rebbe announced a campaign called “Aseh Lecha Rav.” A person is biased about himself, the Rebbe explained; therefore, the Rebbe said, it is imperative for every person to appoint a mentor to guide him through important life-decision.
Bias, the Talmud says (Source 1) is a very subtle concept. When famous rabbis experienced even a slight favor from someone, they would refuse to serve as their judge. How much more so, we are biased about ourselves.

B. Chasing Angels

Who gets to be a mentor? The Talmud says (Source 2) that a rabbi must resemble an angel. When a rabbi’s reputation was tarnished, Rabbi Yehuda removed him from his post despite his expertise.
But what does an angel look like? Maimonides says that souls in the next world resemble angels (Source 3). As the Talmud explains, the world-to-come is a place devoid of jealousy and hatred (Source 4). That’s a good description of an angelic person worthy of being your mentor.
Now, Jewish law does instruct Torah scholars to be vengeful and bear grudges — but only in a very specific case: when if pertains to communal matters (Source 5). But in his personal life — he should strive to be an angel.

C. Jewish Characteristics

Now, we are all aware that angelic mentors are far and few between. But as a start, we should look for mentors with the three Jewish qualities mentioned in the Talmud: compassion, bashfulness, and kindness (Source 6). And lastly: he should be someone who makes Torah study a priority in his life.



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