Parshat Vayishlach features the famous episode of Yaakov and the Angel wrestling. After this wrestling, Yaakov demands "Tell me your name" The Malach responds "Why do you ask my my name"

The interpretation of what the Malach responds is seemingly a dispute between Rashi and Ramban.

Rashi explains that the Malach responded "why do you ask my name? For our we have no set name as it changes according to our mission"

However the Ramban explains "why do you ask our name, for there is no benefit, as there is no power in the world outside of G-d, and if you were to call out to us [The angels] it would not help..."

Seemingly there is a disagreement between Rashi and Ramban if whether the names of the Angels are fixed or not. Or do they change according to the mission, Rashi: Yes. Ramban: No

Is this analysis correct? Are there any other sources which discuss this particular disagreement between Rashi and the Ramban, and or if there is discussion of this topic in general outside of this particular machlokes.


1 Answer 1


There is no disagreement here.

Rashi and Ramban are bringing out two different ideas that are understood from this episode.

Those areas of the Torah which discuss angels and their names (like for example Sefer Raziel) clearly indicate that individual angels have multiple names. This same idea is mentioned in connection with Chanoch, who became Metatron Sar HaPanim. He has 70 names.

The emphasis from Ramban is that we are supposed to pray to G-d, not the angels. They are legal agents who cannot change their mission. G-d can introduce change.

It is efficacious in prayer to use proper form, proper etiquette. That means including the names of the angels associated with the function. But the decree and/or change only comes from G-d.

  • This same idea is mentioned in connection with Chanoch Source? | who became Metatron Sar HaPanim Source? | He has 70 names. Source?
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 25, 2016 at 21:53

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