Metatron angel

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Posted by gerryshown00 from the Computers category at 20 Sep 2022 05:29:18 pm.
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The discussion in the previous sections has made clear that the traditions about Metatron offer a plethora of titles for this exalted angel. The titles seem to derive from many sources: the early legends about Adam, Enoch, Yahoel, Michael, and Melchisedek, as well as the later rabbinic and Hekhalot angelic lore. In respect to these conceptual developments, Sefer Hekhalot can be seen as a compendium or an encyclopedia of Metatron’s titles; as such it offers a great variety of early and late designations, including such well-known titles as the Prince of the World, the Youth, and the lesser YHWH. Yet, if attention is drawn to the frequency of the occurrence of these titles in 3 Enoch, one of them stands out through repeated use in the text. This title is connected with the unique place that Metatron occupies in relation to the divine Face; he is considered a special servant of the divine Presence,. Scholars have previously observed that in 3 Enoch, Metatron becomes “the angel who has access to the divine Presence, the ‘Face’ of the Godhead….”Synopse §11 stresses that Metatron’s duties in this office include the service connected with the Throne of Glory.

It is noteworthy that the appellation “Prince of the Divine Presence” repeatedly follows the name Metatron in 3 Enoch. For example, with this title he is introduced in chapter one of Sefer Hekhalot; in this chapter his duty is to invite the visionary, Rabbi Ishmael, into the divine Presence and to protect him against the hostility of the angels:

At once the Holy One, blessed be he, summoned to my aid his servant, the angel Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence. He flew out to meet me with great alacrity, to save me from their power. He grasped me with his hand before their eyes and said to me, “Come in peace into the presence of the high and exalted King to behold the likeness of the chariot.”[5]

A few verses later, in 3 Enoch 1:9 (Synopse §2), Metatron is mentioned as the one giving R. Ishmael the strength to sing a song of praise to God. Here again the angel is introduced as the Prince of the Divine Presence. The recurring designations of Metatron as the Prince of the Divine Presence are puzzling since this title does not belong exclusively to this angel. The Merkabah tradition follows here the pseudepigrapha which attest to a whole class of the highest angels/princes (Mynph yr#) allowed to see the divine Face.[6]

It is significant that, although the designation is not restricted to Metatron, in 3 Enoch it becomes an essential part of the common introductory formula, “The angel Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence,” through which R. Ishmael relates the various revelations received from his exalted angelus interpres. It also becomes a dividing grid of the microforms that partitions the narrative of Sefer Hekhalot. Sometimes this text seeks to enhance the repetitive formula by adding to it the additional definition, “the glory of the highest heaven.” The combination of the expressions, the “Prince of the Divine Presence” and “the glory of the heaven,” does not appear to be coincidental since the divine Presence/Face is the divine Glory which leads to the transformation of any servant of the Face into a glorious angelic being resembling the luminosity of the divine Face. This paradoxical transformation is described in detail in Synopse §19, where Metatron conveys to R. Ishmael his dramatic transition to the role of the servant of the divine Face:

R. Ishmael said: The angel Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence, the glory of highest heaven, said to me: When the Holy One, blessed be he, took me to serve the throne of glory, the wheels of the chariot and all the needs of the Shekinah, at once my flesh turned to flame, my sinews to blazing fire, my bones to juniper coals, my eyelashes to lightning flashes, my eyeballs to fiery torches, the hairs of my head to hot flames, all my limbs to wings of burning fire, and the substance of my body (ytmwq Pwgw) to blazing fire.[7]

It was already observed that the idea of the Prince of the Presence is both mediatorial and liturgical, and therefore is closely linked with the motif of the celestial curtain, Pargod (dwgrp),[8]the entity which separates the divine Presence from the rest of the heavenly world.[9] The function of this Curtain which can be viewed as a celestial counterpart of the veil found in the earthly sanctuary is twofold. First, it protects the angelic hosts from the harmful luminosity of the divine Face. At the same time it shields the Deity by concealing the ultimate mysteries of the Godhead now accessible solely to the prince(s) of the divine Presence whose duty is to serve the Deity behind[10] the Curtain.[11] Several passages found in the Hekhalot literature depict Metatron and other princes of the Face as attendants who serve the divine Presence in the closest proximity to the Throne, and have the right to enter the immediate presence of the Lord.

The passage found in Hekhalot Zutarti says that “when the youth enters below the throne of glory, God embraces him with a shining face….” This description conveys the fact that the deadly effect of the vision of the luminous Face, which terrifies the angelic hosts, cannot harm the Youth who executes here the office of the sar happanim. This tradition stresses the difference between the princes of the divine Presence and the rest of the angels, who must shield their own faces because they cannot endure the direct sight of the Deity. Another significant feature of the passage from Hekhalot Zutarti is that the Youth’s entrance into God’s presence is understood here liturgically, i.e., as the entrance into the heavenly tabernacle which, according to other traditions, is located beneath the Throne of Glory.

Another text preserved in the Cairo Genizah also depicts the Youth as emerging from his sacerdotal place in the immediate Presence of the Deity:
June 2023
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