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It seems to have been quoted in the piyut Shinanim by Solomon Ibn Gabirol (page 134 of the Spanish Portuguese Kippur service).

In this piyut, Nuriel is mentioned. Who is he? What are his characteristics?

My guess is that this angel is related to Gabriel, since in the piyut, Michael and Raphael are mentioned and these are angels associated with missions of mercy (see Bereshith, where they come to Abraham in this role).

Please cite sources in your response. Thank you.

Shinamim, Nuriel, Solomon Ibn Gabirol

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I'll start by saying that I am no expert in Kabbalah and this is a topic which has roots in deep Jewish mysticism that I am not equipped to answer. However, I can at least provide the bare bones of an answer, at least on a very simple level.

In Wikipedia here it talks about a practical Kabbalah sefer known as Bris Menuchah authored by 13th Century Kabbalist, Rabbi Abraham ben Isaac of Granada.

This book apparently features plenty of references to angels one of which is Nuriel.

On this page the book mentions a series of angels and their various roles. It mentions Nuriel:

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It describes him as the angel whose remit is "ועל אבני אלגביש ממונה" - i.e. that he is G-d's agent over hailstones.

When digging a little bit, Rabbeinu Bachya writes extensively about the large number of angels that accompanied the Bnei Yisroel upon their exit from Egypt and their arrival at the foot of Har Sinai. One excerpt sheds some interesting light (note this is in the Sefaria translation and is an addition to the actual text):

Five major angels named אוריאל, רפאל, גבריאל, מיכאל, (נוריאל) were seen by the Israelites at that time, the first four representing whole encampments surrounding the Shechinah and presided over by the fifth angel נוריאל who “rode” above the others.

So according to this understanding of Rabbeinu Bachya, it would seem that he is regarded as one of the 'major' angels.

Indeed, his appearance amongst the other perhaps more 'well-known' angels would seem to verify this point here in the Zohar 3:227

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  • The only problem I have with this, which is due to my own lack of knowledge, is that I remember learning in one of the Midrashim that when the plague of Barad (hailstones) ceased, the hail stopped mid-air and was held in suspension to be used at a later date in the time of Yehoshua by the angel of hailstone known as ברדאל. In which case, was this the same angel just with an alternative name or a different angel altogether that had a subtle, different role to Nuriel?
    – Dov
    Nov 8, 2020 at 22:47
  • He may be one of the major angels, but apparently he didn't make the cut for the fastest four (Berachos 4b): תנא מיכאל באחת גבריאל בשתים אליהו בארבע ומלאך המות בשמנה ובשעת המגפה באחת
    – Alex
    Nov 9, 2020 at 0:51
  • Alex: that’s odd isn’t it? Shouldn’t Elijah be faster or the same speed as Elijah? Verse 26 Nov 9, 2020 at 1:19
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Nuriel is a name of one of the archangels. In the Zoharic corpus various attributes and functions are ascribed to this figure. Occasionally, he is listed together with Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

(See Malache Elyon, by Rabbi R. Margolies, pp. 138-141 for a collection of the scattered mentions of Nuriel.)

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  • I read that nuriel is uriel in כללי התחלת החכמה
    – kouty
    Jan 8, 2021 at 7:29
  • Ibn Gabriol never read the Zohar
    – Double AA
    May 4 at 15:18
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First, what are Shin'anim שנאנים? They are mentioned in the verse (Ps. 68:18),

יח רֶכֶב אֱלֹהִים רִבֹּתַיִם אַלְפֵי שִׁנְאָן; אֲדֹנָי בָם סִינַי בַּקֹּדֶשׁ.
18 The chariots of God are two-myriads, chiefs Shin'an; the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in holiness.

Shin'anim are archangels:

אלפי שנאן. אלפים מן המלאכים הנקראים שנאנים:
https://www.sefaria.org/Radak_on_Psalms.68.18.2?vhe=Derekh_Mesilah,_Furth_1843&lang=bi

אלפי - שרים וגדולים כמו אלופי יהודה (זכריה יב)
שנאן - כן יקראו מלאכי מרום
https://he.wikisource.org/wiki/%D7%9E%22%D7%92_%D7%AA%D7%94%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%9D_%D7%A1%D7%97_%D7%99%D7%97

In Tikkunei Zohar there are twelve occurrences of "Nuriel." See there for context and details. Here is a small selection of points from there regarding his identity and characteristics:

  • daf 119b (Tikkun 70): Chanokh who came out from Enosh is Metatro"n, for his flesh transformed into a torch of fire, and he's Nuriel, and regarding both it's said (Eze. 1), "And the Chayot ran to and fro" - r'tzo/to is Nurie"l, shov/back is Mtt'... According to how H' showed it, so did Moshe make the MeNORa, and that's MeTaTro"n - its M' is Menorah, NORie"l its NU"R (flame) which is T"T - and they shall be l'ToTafot' between your eyes." Everything proceeded from Enosh, therefore "Then they began to call on the name of H'"...
  • daf 107a : "And below, Mikhael Gab' Nur' Ref', they are garments to the four Ruchin/spirits, of which it says (Isa. 11:2) "The ruach of H', ruach chokhmah u'binah" etc.
  • daf 105 (Tikkun 69): ... Mikhael - water, Gabr' - fire, Nuri' - spirit, Ref' - earth.
  • daf 126a: "And the face of the eagle to the four of them" - this is Nurie"l (other version Urie"l), Sar Shalom, the "Central Pillar"..

We see Nurie"l is associated on the one hand with fire, and on the other, spirit. Both these and the other aspects are interrelated and connected in Likutei Moharan - Torah 13, "Ashrei Ha'am Yod'ei Teru'ah..." (Ps. 89) a monumental revelation regarding drawing down the Complete Providence and which connects the aspects of the Merkaba, teshuvah, the Chakham and Moshe-Mashiach, and the prayer assembly, see there. Two points related to the above TZ's:

  • This is what is brought in the Tikkuney Zohar (#70, p.109a): Ratzo is Nuriel, vashov is Metat, the Minister of the Countenance. Nuriel is a nur (candle) that is lit (''nur dalik'', Zohar I, 23b) — burning with a desire for money. Vashov is Metat, Sar Hapanim (Minister of the Countenance). He is hinted to in the name MoShE, who is himself Mashiach/the “ruach of our nostrils” through which the burning [desire] is allayed. {“Happy is the people shekakhah (that such is the case) for them” (Psalms 144:15).} And this is: “SheKaKhaH” has the same numerical value as MoShE (Zohar III, 111b). He m’ShaKeKh (allays) the [desire for] “idols of silver and gold.” RaTZO is RaTZOn (will), which is the soul. Vashov is Moshe, who receives the Torah [The Chakham ascends with the Am's desires, and brings back [new] Torah, see there the entire lesson].

  • [Related to Nurie"l's aspect of Eagle:] Nesher in the Torah is the aspect of new Torah insights, as alluded in (Ps. 103:5), “… renewed like that of the eagle.”

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