When Angels Leave…A Blessing For A Friend and Colleague

Welcome among us, ministering angels!

Angels of the Highest One,

From deep within us, Majesty of majesties

The blessed Holy One.

Come, then, in shalom, angels of shalom!

Bless us with shalom, angels of shalom!

And now, you leave us, with shalom, angels of shalom

Angels of the Highest One,

From deep within us, Majesty of majesties

The blessed Holy One.


Shalom Aleichem, the beautiful song that we sing as Shabbat begins, describes the mystical interaction each of us supposedly has as the sun sets on Friday night.  We are taught that as Shabbat starts, we go to the synagogue for Kabbalat Shabbat services.  As we sing Shalom Aleichem, we are surrounded by angels and we say “welcome among us, ministering angels!”  As we leave the synagogue, tradition teaches us, two angels select us and follow us home.  One of the angels is a “good” angel; the other is a troublemaker.  They both enter our home together.  When they enter the house and they see Shabbat candles lit and a Shabbat dinner waiting, the “good” angel says “May it be G-d’s will that next Shabbat be the same,” and the troublemaking angel is compelled to respond: “Amen!”  At this point,  peace descends upon our home and the two angels both become “angels of peace” – both the good and troublemaking angel.

We proceed to welcome the angels into our home, saying “come angels of shalom!”.  We ask the two angels to bless us as we prepare to gather with family and friends and eat Shabbat dinner – saying “Barechuni leshalom!”.  And, then, we do something very odd: we send the angels away: “Tzetchem leshalom, malachey hashalom” – “Go now angels of Shalom, leave us with your beautiful peace.”  The angels don’t stay to eat!  They fly off into the night.  And once they leave us, we are ready to sit with our family and friends and enjoy the peace and beauty left behind by our angels of shalom.

The lesson: when angels leave us, the gifts they bring do not go with them.  Their gifts linger and fill our lives with the sparks that make us holy.

Natalie, for the past seven years, you have been our “Angel of Shalom” – coming into our lives, our sanctuary and our homes; blessing us with your music, teaching and spirit – preparing us for this moment: the moment where you fly off.  As you leave us, it is so evident that you have filled this holy place with shalom, with wholeness.  You have made us complete.  And while your presence will be missed beyond words – because of you and what you have given us, we will forever be able to sing and pray together.  Your voice will forever fill this sanctuary and your melodies will forever fill our hearts.

“Tzetchem leshalom, malachey hashalom, malachey elyon, mimelech malchey hamelachim hakadosh baruch hu!”   Go now, our Cantor, spread your wings and fly to the next chapter of your life.  Take with you all of our blessings and know that you have left behind more blessings than you know.



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