We read from Tanya (excuse me for not having the number of the verse) that:

כי מיכאל שר של מים וגבריאל שר של אש, ואין מכבין זה את זה

“Michael is the prince of water and Gabriel is the prince of fire, yet they do not extinguish one another.”

Though water seeks to quench fire and fire endeavors to vaporize water, and “Michael is the prince of water and Gabriel is the prince of fire,” nevertheless they do not extinguish one another.


This means to say, not that Michael’s substance derives from the spiritual element of water and Gabriel’s substance derives from the spiritual element of fire, but that

שמיכאל שר של חסד

Michael is the prince of Chesed (“kindness”),

הנקרא בשם מים, היורדים ממקום גבוה למקום נמוך

which is called “water”, because it descends from a high place to a low place.

והוא בחינת ההשפעה והתפשטות החיות מעולמות עליונים לתחתונים

In spiritual terms this [descent] means: the bestowal and diffusion of the [Divine] life-force from the higher to the lower worlds.

ובחינת אש, שטבעה לעלות למעלה, היא בחינת הגבורה, והסתלקות השפעת החיות ממטה למעלה

Fire, whose nature is to soar aloft, represents spiritually the thrust of Gevurah (“severity”), and the upward withdrawal of the flow of life-force

Now when we notice that Michael and Gavriel has high ranks among the angels in Heaven so that they are even called "princes", did they do something to merit that ? Or the Almighty gave them this role the moment they were created ?

  • +1 Why do you think they needed to do something, usually it is considered that angles do not have free choice (but it might be they did something similar to the lower waters(that they got salt))
    – hazoriz
    Aug 23, 2015 at 20:51

1 Answer 1


We see an indication in the commentaries of the parsha of Avraham and the malachim (Vayeira) that three malachim came to Avraham and two came to S'dom. The commentaries state that each malach actually is created for "its" particular task and when that task is over, the malach no longer exists (Mesechet Baba Metziah 86b). We also see in discussions about people compared to malachim, that people can change status based on the mitzvos or aveiros that they do. Malachim, on the other hand, are created at a particular level and never change. Thus, Gavriel and Michoel, just like the other malachim, were created for their particular task and would never change.

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