1

Azael and Azazel seem similar or related.
Is it that Azael is an accusing angel that occupies Azazel the rocky cliff that is associated with Esau - Seir(Goat, thus the YK goat to dispel) - the Accuser? So is their similarity in name coincidental or referring to eachother?


Several occurences of Azael in Zohar Vol. I (Sefer Bereishit):

daf 19b

Adam had intercourse with female spirits for 130 years until Na'amah came. Because of her beauty, she led the sons of Elohim, Aza and Azael astray. She bore them all sorts of new kinds of Kelipah. Evil spirits and demons spread out from her into the world. They wander around the world during the night, deriding human beings and causing nocturnal pollution. Wherever they find men sleeping alone in their own homes, they hover over them and cling to them, arousing lustful desires and having offspring by them.

23a:

Another explanation of "Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness..." (Beresheet 1:26) was given by the friends as referring to the ministering angels who spoke this phrase (to Hashem). (R' Shimon) said to them: Since the angels already know the past and the future, they already knew that man was destined to sin. Why then did they want to make man? Not only that, but (the Angels) Aza and Azael also opposed (man's creation). When the Shechinah said to the Holy One, blessed be He, "Let Us make man," they responded, "What is man that You take knowledge of him?" (Tehilim 144:3). Why do you wish to create man when You know that he shall definitely sin before you, with his wife, who represents darkness, because the light is the male and darkness is the Female principle, the Left, darkness of Creation. At that moment, the Shechinah said to them: You will fall by the same reasoning that you denounce, as it is written: "That the sons of Elohim saw that the daughters of men were fair" (Beresheet 6:2), so they went astray after them. And the Shechinah caused them to fall from their holy state. The friends said, Rabbi, Rabbi, Aza and Azael did not lie, because Adam definitely was destined to sin by his wife. He replied: This is what the Shechinah said, You, (the aforementioned Angels), have laid accusations before me that go beyond those of all the hosts above. If you were better than man in your actions, you would have had a right to accuse him, but man will sin only with one woman while you are destined to sin with many women. Therefore, your sins are greater than those of human beings, as it is written: "The sons of Elohim saw the daughters of man." It is not written: 'the daughter of men,' but rather "the daughters of men". As man sinned, I prepared atonement for him to amend his sin.

25a-b:

About the Nefilim (the fallen ones), it is written: "That the sons of the Elohim saw that the daughters of men were fair" (Beresheet 6:2). These are the second group (of the erev rav, emanating from the Chochmah of the Kelipot) from those fallen from above, (from Aza and Azael, who were angels above. Hashem dropped them out of the heavens). When the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to create man, he said (to the angels) "Let us make man in our image..." (Beresheet 1:26). He wanted to make him a leader over all (the angels above), so that he might govern all (the angels) and they would be under his rule, as is written about Joseph: "And let him appoint officers over the land" (Beresheet 41:34). Those (Angels) wanted to denounce him. They asked (Hashem), "What is man, that You are mindful of him" (Tehilim 8:5), for he is bound to sin before You? The Holy One, blessed be He, replied, If you were down below like he, you would sin more than he does. Immediately, "The sons of the Elohim saw the daughters of men..." They were filled with passion for them, so the Holy One, blessed be He, dropped them down in chains. These [25b] (i.e. the 'sons of Elohim') are Aza and Azael, from whom descended the souls of (the second group in) the mixed multitude, which are the Nefilim. They made themselves fall, and they fornicated with women who were fair. Because of this, the Holy One, blessed be He, also eliminated them from the World to Come, so that they may not have a portion there. And He gave them their reward in this world, as it is written: "...and repays them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them" (Devarim 7:10).

126a:

He said to him, Where did Bilaam learn everything that he did and all that he knew? He said to him, He learned it from his father. But in "the mountains of the east" (Num. 23:7), in the land of the east, he learned the enchantments and kinds of magic, for in these mountains abide the angels Aza and Azael, whom the Holy One, blessed be He, caused to fall from heaven (because they denounced the creation of man). They are tied in chains of iron there and reveal spells to men. This is where Bilaam gained knowledge, as it is written, "Balak the king of Moab has led me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east" (Ibid.) (where Aza and Azael are). He said to him, It is written, "He went not, as at other time, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness" (Num. 24:1). Rabbi Yitzchak said that the lower side, which comes from the unholy spirit above, is the unholy spirit that ruled over the wilderness at the time when the children of Yisrael defiled themselves by committing the sin of the golden calf. He cast his spells to all directions in order to uproot the children of Yisrael, [126b] but could not do so.

(There might be more occurrences; the translation I searched from here is still in progress:) https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Translation:Zohar/Genesis#Bereisheet_/_%D7%91%D6%B0%D6%BC%D7%A8%D6%B5%D7%90%D7%A9%D6%B4%D7%81%D7%99%D7%AA


Occurrences of Azazel:

142b

"Now therefore, my son, obey my voice..." (Beresheet 27:8): It was then Pesach (Passover) eve, and the Evil Inclination had to be exterminated from the world, and the moon, the secret [142b] of faith had to govern. Therefore, Rivkah cooked two dishes. Rabbi Yehuda said that this alludes to the descendants of Jacob, who in the future offered two goats on Yom Kippur, one for Hashem and one to Azazel. For this reason, Rivkah offered "two kids of the goats," one for the supernal grade and one to subjugate the grade of Esau, so he would not rule over Jacob. Thus, there were two kids of the goats. From both, Isaac tasted and ate. It is written, "and he brought him wine, and he drank" (Beresheet 27: 25), (not 'he served him'). By this he hints that he served him wine from afar. According to Rabbi Elazar, this means that he brought him wine in which there is complete joy, to gladden Isaac, for he needed cheering, as the side of the Levites needs cheering, Therefore, "he brought him wine, and he drank." "And Rivkah took the best clothes of her eldest son Esau" (Beresheet 27:15). These are the garments Esau took from Nimrod. They are the precious garments from Adam, which came to the hands of Nimrod, who used them when he hunted, as it is written, "He was a mighty hunter before Hashem" (Beresheet 10:9). And Esau went into the field, where he fought with and killed Nimrod, removing the garments from him. This is the meaning of "and Esau came from the field, and he was faint" (Beresheet 25:29). It has already been explained why it is here written, "And he was faint," and elsewhere, "for my soul faints before the slayers" (Yirmeyah 4:31). These are analogous. There it is written "faint" to refer to killing. Here too, there is killing, because Esau murdered Nimrod.


Do any classic commentators explain Azazel as Eza-zal, meaning Goat-begone, i.e. ward off the influence of Esau-Seir(Goat)-Accuser which seems to be the pshat here? --

145a

For when Yisrael offered a goat, the serpent was subdued and became a slave as we learned. Therefore, Jacob served his father two goats (Heb. se'irim), one with which to subjugate Esau, who is hairy (Heb. sa'ir), and the other for the grade upon which Esau depended and to which he cleaved. (i.e., Samael). Therefore the world is accursed until a woman comes, who resembles Eve, and a man, who resembles Adam. They will deceive and beguile [146a] the serpent and the one ruling him, (meaning Samael). We have already learned this. He opened the discussion with the verse, "and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field, and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents" (Beresheet 25:27). The phrase "a plain man" means a whole man, according to the Aramaic translation, (for he was) "dwelling in tents." He was plain because he dwelt in tents, he held fast the two sides, Abraham and Isaac. Because Jacob came to Esau from the side of Isaac. As we learned from the verse, "With the merciful you will show yourself merciful...and with the perverse you will show yourself subtle" (Tehilim 18:26-27). When he came to receive the blessings, he came with support of Abraham and Isaac from above, and so all was done wisely. Come and behold, When Jacob arose against Samael, the grade of Esau, Samael fought and wrestled with him, but Jacob overpowered him in several ways. He conquered the serpent with cunning and subtlety, but he was only overpowered by the goat (the two goats he served to his father Isaac). And though all is one, (meaning the serpent and Samael) nevertheless he also conquered and overpowered Samael in another battle. This is derived from the verse, "and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he did not prevail against him" (Beresheet 32:25-26).

2

Meanwhile I've found most of these answers below in Yoma 67b. Yes, they are all related

  1. According to R' Yishmael Azazel is thus named because the YK goat service atones for the actions of Uzza (Aza, written chasser in the Zohar) and Azael. And as you cited from Zohar I:126a those angels are tied in chains there, and R' Yitzhak (explaining to R' Yosi while walking from Tiberia to Lod) identifies Azazel as the "mountains of the east" (Num 23:7) where Bilam learned his spells and knowledge from these demons.
  2. The rabbanan seem to view it as Azaz (intensified of Az; hardest mountain) – el (mighty i.e. rough and hard). I haven't yet seen it interpreted as Eza-zal.

תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן עֲזָאזֵל שֶׁיְּהֵא עַז וְקָשֶׁה יָכוֹל בַּיִּשּׁוּב תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר בַּמִּדְבָּר וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁבְּצוּק תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר גְּזֵירָה תַּנְיָא אִידַּךְ עֲזָאזֵל קָשֶׁה שֶׁבֶּהָרִים וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר וְאֶת אֵילֵי הָאָרֶץ לָקָח

The Sages taught: The word Azazel indicates that the cliff the goat is pushed from should be rough and hard. I might have thought that it may be located in a settled area. Therefore, the verse states: “In the wilderness.” And from where does one derive that the goat is pushed from a cliff? The verse states “gezeira,” indicating an area that is sharp, like a cliff. It was taught in another baraita: Azazel is a reference to the hardest mountain, and so it says: “And the mighty [eilei] of the land he took away” (Ezekiel 17:13). [Azazel is interpreted as azaz-el, with the term el connoting something rough and hard.]

תָּנָא דְּבֵי רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל עֲזָאזֵל שֶׁמְּכַפֵּר עַל מַעֲשֵׂה עוּזָּא וְעַזָּאֵל

The school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: Azazel is so called because it atones for the actions of Uzza and Azael. [These are the names of “sons of God,” accusing angels who having been cast down by God usurped their power to sexually exploit lowly “daughters of men” (Genesis 6:2) and thereby caused the world to sin during the generation of the Flood.]

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