“…in this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Vayishlach … ‘Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau…’ The Hebrew word here generally translated as ‘messengers’ is malachim, or malach in the singular. Yet this is the same word which, in the verses cited near the beginning of this column, is invariably translated as ‘angels.’ Did Jacob send angels, or did he send messengers? …Rashi, the greatest of our commentators, insists that Jacob sent malachim mamash, real, ‘tangible’ angels.
…Jacob’s ‘angels’ were the product of his many good deeds: of his faithful adherence to his duties as Laban’s shepherd, of his acts of charity and fervent prayers to God. The angels he created out of his good deeds are the ones he sent to appease his fearsome brother, Esau.
…Jacob was not the only one capable of creating angels. We all are capable of performing good deeds…We can step outside the Jewish tradition and learn that others have discovered this secret—namely, that we have spiritual abilities within us that cry out for expression. There are potential angels within us all.”