An American Rabbi claims that Satan is an angel and he is not evil. That Satan is testing us and that is good, so that Hashem can give us a good reward in Olam Haba. Is this a majority view in Judaism?


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The Jewish view is that everything that has been created is under the control of G0d and cannot be considered an independent being in the sense that non-Jewish religions regard "Satan" (as a "rebellious" angel). One of the translations of the word is "prosecutor". Only human beings have free will and the associated "desires" that can cause them to rebel against Hashem and violate his commandments.

For example Jewish Concepts: Satan

Satan in Judaism is not a physical being ruling the underworld, rather, in the Torah, the word Satan indicates “accuser,” “hinderer” or “tempter.” Satan is therefore more an illusory obstacle in one’s way - such as temptation and evil doings - keeping one from completing the responsibilities of tikkun olam (fixing the world). Satan is the evil inclination to veer off the path of righteousness and faithfulness in God.

UPDATE Note that this is restricted to the "being" known as "Satan" rather than Hashem sending a human being (who does have free will) or a "natural force" (like lightning or a wind) which does not have the concept of free will as a messenger. That is a different area. Also note that a malach in the literal sense (translated as angel) only exists while carrying out its mission. See for example the explanation of Rav Hirsch as to why three malachim appeared to Avraham in Vayera and only two went to S'dom after afterwards.

  • I believe the Maharal interestingly enough does use the expression "samael harasha" in his intro to Ohr Chodosh (?) when comparing the geulah of Purim to that of Yom Kippur.
    – Loewian
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 5:46
  • @MonicaCellio (and Sabbahillel) interestingly enough, the Ramchal in Da'as Tevunos Chelek Beis discusses the "rebellion" of the sitra achra (Satan). It is part of his whole approach to angelic missions and how angels can make mistakes. Still no free will involved, though. Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 4:51
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    We see in midrash that occasionally angels get "punished," which shouldn't be possible if they lack free will,how is that possible without free will?
    – Aigle
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 14:01
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    "making a mistake"punished for making a mistake?
    – Aigle
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 16:02
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    @sabbahillel I might agree with that,but I aslo think they are historical correct and that angels are real.So It`s important to know,for us that think angels are real.
    – Aigle
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 16:28

The Gemara (Bava Basra 15b) says:

מיתיבי חסיד היה באומות העולם ואיוב שמו ולא בא לעולם אלא כדי לקבל שכרו הביא הקב"ה עליו יסורין התחיל מחרף ומגדף כפל לו הקב"ה שכרו בעוה"ז [כדי] לטרדו מן העולם הבא

There was a certain pious man among the nations of the world and his name was Job, and he came into the world only to receive his reward. The Holy One, Blessed be He, brought afflictions upon him, and he began to blaspheme and curse. The Holy One, Blessed be He, doubled his reward in this world in order to expel him from the World-to-Come.

  • What? [15 char]
    – user6591
    Commented May 5, 2017 at 11:13

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