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וַיִּוָּתֵר יַעֲקֹב לְבַדּוֹ וַיֵּאָבֵק אִישׁ עִמּוֹ עַד עֲלוֹת הַשָּׁחַר׃
Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. (Gen 32.25)

We already learned that:

  1. Angels can look like ordinary people (Avraham's guests)
  2. Angels can have physical bodies, that weigh and one can clasp and wrestle with (Yaakov)

Yaakov's strength is known and limited, let's say he can bench 500 lb., but

  • How and by whom angel's strength is determined?

  • If it is fixed, the outcome should have been known, because wrestling is all about one's gross weight and strength, if it is variable - who controls it?

  • 1
    I would guess an angel is designed with the looks and the abilities required for its mission. – Maurice Mizrahi Dec 15 '19 at 14:13
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    If wrestling results were determined just by weight and strength, why would they have the matches? They could just have a weight lifting competition. – Daniel Dec 15 '19 at 14:13
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    "Wrestling is all about one's gross weight and strength" I have some background in martial arts. although size and strength matters, you are incorrect. – Alaychem Remember Monica Dec 16 '19 at 13:39
2

There is a passage in Berachot 4b which might be taken as a comparison of the strength of different angels, which would apparently presume that different angels have different levels of strengths.

R. Eleazar b. Abina said furthermore: Greater is [the achievement] ascribed to Michael than that ascribed to Gabriel. For of Michael it is written: Then flew unto me one of the Seraphim, whereas of Gabriel it is written: The man Gabriel whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly in a flight etc. How do you know that this [word] 'one' [of the Seraphim] means Michael? — R. Johanan says: By an analogy from [the words] 'one', 'one'. Here it is written: Then flew unto me one of the Seraphim; and in another place it is written: But, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me. A Tanna taught: Michael [reaches his goal] in one [flight], Gabriel in two, Elijah in four, and the Angel of Death in eight. In the time of plague, however, [the Angel of Death, too, reaches his goal] in one.

(Soncino translation)

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  • Interesting. I don't think they mean physical strength. Maybe authority? – Al Berko Dec 15 '19 at 19:16
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    @AlBerko So why do you think the incident with Jacob is about physical strength? – Alex Dec 15 '19 at 19:20
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Actually, G-d does not need helpers. Angels are anything that provides the Divine Will of G-d, for example, the rain, wind, and snow are angels. Even good people can be called angels, for example, the three men who visited Abraham or the man who wrestled with Jacob.

It, therefore, follows, that an angel's strength can only be determined on the strength and abilities of the man in question when being referred to as an angel, and if we equate angels with the natural forces, then a strong wind may be very powerful.

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