To Be Angelic, Not Perfect

Dena Weiss

Parashat VaYishlah

Parashat VaYishlah opens with Ya’akov’s preparing to reunite with his brother.  Ya’akov does not know what to expect, and he prepares for the worst.  Before he confronts Esav himself, he sends messengers, malakhim, with gifts in order to make Esav’s disposition more favorable towards him. The term malakhim is unclear.  On the one hand, malakhim could simply refer to human messengers, to men who travelled with Ya’akov and his family.  However, “malakhim” is also how the Torah refers to angels, the emissaries of God.  Who or what were these angels? (5780)