Angels on the Garden State

Angels on the Garden State

In response to Jeff Bernstein in his recent question about angels reciting Kedusha even though they have no free will (“More on the Kedusha,” June 7):

The “yeshivisha terutz” or classic answer given in a yeshiva focuses on why angles don’t have free will.

For example, two people are driving on the Garden State Parkway. Both are late to an important meeting.

One is driving a jalopy whose top speed is 50 mph. The second is driving a Porche, which can easily cruise at 170 mph.

The first has no free will to speed. His car just CAN’T. The second has the ability to choose to speed.

What if the second is driving alongside a state trooper? Technically he has free will and can choose to speed. Practically, however he does not. Speeding next to a state trooper is not an option.

The same with angels. There are many Talmudic and midrashic sources in which angels question God’s commands. They have the capacity to choose to question God rather than blindly accept His doings. Angels, however, are acutely aware of the inside story, of how God’s hand controls the universe. They know that they cannot realistically choose otherwise.

Their saying Kedusha is not a tape recording, which is meaningless, but rather an expression of their complete recognition of God’s omnipotence.