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I've read in various threads here that once an angel has fulfilled his task he vanishes.

I'm very interested in stories where this happens. What are some examples of stories where angels have fulfilled a particular task and then vanished?

Also if there is a good online source where I can look up these stories and read the full versions that would be great.

  • You've read that here on Mi Yodeya? Could you link to a couple of places where that comes up? – Daniel Sep 1 '15 at 12:03
  • I added a link, the second link should. On closer inspection a comment says that some angels vanish. – inzenity Sep 1 '15 at 12:18
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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, inzenity, and congratulations on being user #10,000! If you're interested in angels, you might want to check out some of our other angels questions. We hope you enjoy your stay here. – Scimonster Sep 1 '15 at 12:19
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    Unfortunately we are unable to award you a brand new car, but feel free to help yourself to a free download of Days of Awe - Mi Yodeya – Daniel Sep 1 '15 at 12:29
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Probably the most famous example is with the 3 angels that visited Abraham, and then 2 of them went on to Sodom.

3 angels came to visit Abraham in Genesis 18:2:

וַיִּשָּׂ֤א עֵינָיו֙ וַיַּ֔רְא וְהִנֵּה֙ שְׁלֹשָׁ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֔ים נִצָּבִ֖ים עָלָ֑יו וַיַּ֗רְא וַיָּ֤רָץ לִקְרָאתָם֙ מִפֶּ֣תַח הָאֹ֔הֶל וַיִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ אָֽרְצָה׃

And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed down to the earth. (emphasis added)

Rashi, a famous Biblical commentator, says there:

והנה שלשה אנשים: אחד לבשר את שרה ואחד להפוך את סדום ואחד לרפאות את אברהם, שאין מלאך אחד עושה שתי שליחיות. תדע לך שכן כל הפרשה הוא מזכירן בלשון רבים (פסוק ח) ויאכלו, (פסוק ט) ויאמרו אליו, ובבשורה נאמר (שם י) ויאמר שוב אשוב אליך, ובהפיכת סדום הוא אומר (יט כב) כי לא אוכל לעשות דבר, (שם כא), לבלתי הפכי. ורפאל שרפא את אברהם הלך משם להציל את לוט, הוא שנאמר (שם יז) ויהי כהוציאם אותם החוצה ויאמר המלט על נפשך, למדת שהאחד היה מציל:

And behold, three men: One to bring the news [of Isaac’s birth] to Sarah, and one to overturn Sodom, and one to heal Abraham, for one angel does not perform two errands (Gen. Rabbah 50:2). You should know that [this is true] because throughout the entire chapter, Scripture mentions them in the plural, e.g., (below verse 8): “and they ate” ; (ibid. verse 9): “and they said to him.” Concerning the announcement, however, it says (ibid. verse 10): “And he said: I will surely return to you.” And concerning the overturning of Sodom, it says (below 19:22): “For I will not be able to do anything”; (ibid. verse 21): “I will not overturn” (Gen. Rabbah 50:11). And Raphael, who healed Abraham, went from there to save Lot. This is what is stated: “And it came to pass when they took them outside, that he [the angel] said, ‘Flee for your life.’” You learn that only one acted as a deliverer.

However, when these angels later visit Sodom, there are only 2 of them (19:1):

וַ֠יָּבֹאוּ שְׁנֵ֨י הַמַּלְאָכִ֤ים סְדֹ֙מָה֙ בָּעֶ֔רֶב וְל֖וֹט יֹשֵׁ֣ב בְּשַֽׁעַר־סְדֹ֑ם וַיַּרְא־לוֹט֙ וַיָּ֣קָם לִקְרָאתָ֔ם וַיִּשְׁתַּ֥חוּ אַפַּ֖יִם אָֽרְצָה׃

And the two angels came to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom; and Lot saw them, and rose up to meet them; and he fell down on his face to the earth. (emphasis added)

As Rashi said, the angel that brought the message of Isaac's birth did not have anything else to do, so when the other angels continued with their task, that one seems to have just vanished.

  • Vanished, but set to return. Meaning they don't disappear from existence. – user6591 Sep 1 '15 at 16:46

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