Yaakov sent angels ahead of him to his brother Eisav, to the land of Seir, the field of Edom. And he commanded them, saying, “So shall you say to my master to Eisav, ‘So said your servant Yaakov, “I have sojourned with Lavan, and I have tarried until now. (Breishis 32;4-5)
Yaakov sent angels: מלאכים ממש: literally angels! – Rashi
I have sojourned: Another explanation: גַּרְתִּי has the numerical value of 613. That is to say: I lived with the wicked Lavan, but I kept the 613 commandments, and I did not learn from his evil deeds. -Rashi
This is interesting! Yaakov has command over actual angels. These are mere messengers. Rashi tells us they are authentic angels. How does one attract an army of angels? Where did they come from?
It may sound strange to say so but my wife and I have a phrase we repeat often, but it’s not just a phrase. It’s a fact of life. “HASHEM always sends us angels!” I could fill a book with stories. It doesn’t happen only to us. It happens with everyone but we are paying attention and we take note as often as possible. We have a particular pressing need and after some good Davening, and confidently declaring, “HASHEM always sends us angels”, an agent of some sort, an angel appears from seemingly nowhere and performs this unusual service.
Years ago, I took my oldest son to Israel before his Bar Mitzvah to put on Tefillin for the first time at the earliest hour at the Western Wall. The first morning after we woke up in Neve Yaakov, we took a cab to Yerushelaim proper to meet up with a bus going to Kever Rochel and Maares HaMachpela. That morning I jumped into a conversation with the cab driver and he told me his name was Shmuel. When we got to our stop, I realized I didn’t have any Israeli currency so I asked if I could pay him with $20 American. Days later we were up at 4:00 AM to catch a cab to the Kossel for the big Tefillin event but there was a phone strike and we could not call a taxi. We went into the street to hail a cab. Twenty minutes went by and the chances of getting there on time seemed bleak. There were no cabs to be found.
I told my son emphatically, “HASHEM always sends us angels!” At that moment a cab sped by in the opposite direction and we watched it whizz by and then do a U turn. He pulled up to us and said that he was heading home after driving all night but something told him to stop and pick up these two people. I peaked in and I said, “Shmuel!?” He asked, “How do you know my name?” “You took us the other day. Remember, I gave you a $20”!? He pulled it out of his pocket! Yes, the angel Shmuel in action!
The Midrash tells us that Avraham merited being visited by three angels because of the three parts of the Bris Mila that he performed. Later Avraham was halted by the Akeida by a Malach HASHEM. The Malbim explains the seemingly extra phrase “from me” proved that he was that angel created from his being willing to give up his son. That is what HASHEM had asked him to do. He did it. The angel was the product of that completed deed. Mitzvos produce Malachim -angels.
Yaakov intimates to Eisav that he lived with the wicked Lavan and still he kept 613 Mitzvos. Yaakov had a huge army of angels that resulted from his performance of Mitzvos and his study of Torah. Where did these angels come from? The Kuzari says that Mitzvos make angels.
It has occurred to us over time that the way to hope for and expect a timely angel is to be an angel for someone else. Other people also need angels. When we are angels for others HASHEM sends us angels.
It’s an open Rashi in Re’eh on the verse (Devarim 16:11), “And you shall rejoice before HASHEM, your G-d, -you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite who is within your cities, and the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are among you…”
Rashi comments, “These are My four, corresponding to your four, “Your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant.” If you shall gladden Mine, I will gladden yours.” You take care of MY kids! I’ll take care of yours! If you will be an angel for others, I will send, not heavenly angels but MALCHIM MAMASH – Real Angels.