Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels


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Volume 1, The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia

Angels in the Architecture was commissioned by Kingsway International and received its premiere performance at the Sydney Opera House on July 6, , by a massed band of young musicians from Australia and the United States, conducted by Mathew George.

Do angels exist?

The work unfolds as a dramatic conflict between the two extremes of human existence -- one divine, the other evil. The work's title is inspired by the Sydney Opera House itself, with its halo-shaped acoustical ornaments hanging directly above the performance stage. Angels in the Architecture begins with a single voice singing a 19th-century Shaker song:.

I am an angel of Light I have soared from above I am cloth'd with Mother's love. I have come, I have come. To protect my chosen band And lead them to the promised land. This "angel" -- represented by the singer -- frames the work, surrounding it with a protective wall of light and establishing the divine.

Other representations of light, played by instruments rather than sung, include a traditional Hebrew song of peace "Hevenu Shalom Aleichem" and the well-known 16th-century Genevan Psalter, Old Hundredth. These three borrowed songs, despite their varied religious origins, are meant to transcend any one religion, representing the more universal human ideals of peace, hope, and love.

He sees a ladder reaching as far as heaven with angels ascending and descending its steps. The episode is easy for rationalists to understand. The Bible is stating that the angels were symbolic figures in his dream, not actual beings.

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It is obvious to rationalists that Jacob understands that the angels are assurances of his security and his fear is assuaged. The non-rationalist sees the dream as biblical confirmation of his belief in the existence of angels.

The non-rationalist, on the other hand, is convinced that it is a noun describing a supernatural being that is superior to humans in power and knowledge, but not as powerful as God. They may name them demons or evil angels. Moses Maimonides — and Moses Nachmanides — express polar opposite beliefs regarding angels, although there are many other intermediate ideas.

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Maimonides totally rejected the literal notion that angels are divine-like almost human-like beings that perform missions for God. Maimonides was certain that it is inconceivable that God would need help from independent forces. God created the laws of nature that accomplished all that God wanted, all that was needed, and all that was good.


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Furthermore, it is impossible to understand how such divine-like body-less spirits could be seen by man. Just as God lacks any body form, and therefore could not be seen, so, too, angels, who are said to be incorporeal, would be unseeable. Maimonides discusses angels in his Guide of the Perplexed He states there that angels certainly exist, after all the Bible mentions them, but the word should be understood figuratively.

Maimonides explains that when Scripture mentions that someone saw an angel, it simply means that he had a dream or vision. There is only a difference in the names employed. Nachmanides disagreed entirely. He was convinced that the world does not function according to the laws of nature.

Shalom Aleichem Liturgy: Shalom Aleichem: Foresight

God is directly and daily involved in every occurrence on earth, even the most mundane, such as a leaf falling from a tree. He frequently discusses the ramifications of his belief in his Bible commentaries, in Genesis and , Exodus , Leviticus , and other places. Thus, for example, only God and not doctors can heal people Exodus Nachmanides argued that people can see angels.

It occurred also to Abraham when he saw three of them in Genesis Jacob wrestled with one in Genesis Balaam encountered one in Numbers Isaac was saved by one who appeared to his father Abraham in Genesis He was also convinced that demons exist and that they interact with people. Since they can harm people, he outlined a method to avoid their harm in Leviticus

Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels
Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels
Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels
Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels
Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels
Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels Shalom Alechem: An Interaction with Angels

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