There is story in the Talmud that every Shabbat, two angels accompany us on our way, a good angel and a bad angel. If we come home and our table is set, the candles are lit, and we’ve created space for Shabbat, the good angel will say, “So may it be every week,” and the bad angel must respond, “Amen.” But if we come home to fight, without asking our children how their week was, without pausing to take a moment to be together, the bad angel will say, “So may it be every week,” and the good angel must respond, “Amen.”

Angels are all around us. They manifest themselves in human beings, in the way we look at each other, in the way we see and interact with the world. In this week’s parashah, Vayechi, Jacob asks his own guardian angel to look after his two grandchildren. But we learned from commentators on the story of Abraham and his three angel visitors that each angel has a singular task to do in this world, so how can Jacob’s angels take on the task of guarding his grandchildren once their singular task of guarding Jacob is complete? The answer is in what Jacob does. These two children are blessed together, not one at a time. Jacob’s message is not meant for the angels, it is meant for these two boys. They have to be each other’s angels. They have to protect each other and take care of each other. 

We have to be each other’s angels. On Shabbat, we welcome in the angels of peace and rest that accompany the Shabbat Queen. As we do, we turn around to face the entrance to our community spaces. And in doing so, we have a chance to look around the room at each other. Who in that room needs you to be their angel today? Who in your life needs you to be their angel today?

As we gather together this Shabbat and sing these beautiful words, find a way to be someone else’s angel, and hold them extra close.

Shabbat Shalom

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