According to this answer, the Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer (among other works) references an idea that angels "fell" -- were somehow separated from their holiness and "became" human.

This answer states that there is no idea in Judaism of a fallen" angel, and this answer discusses that there is an idea that angels lack free will (so they could not choose to abandon anything) but that there is an isolated incident where there is some loss of status because of personal choice.

How does normative Jewish thought deal with the texts which point to angels falling from their holiness and losing their position as angels because of their choices?

  • 1
    (Note that the events regarding the Fallen Angels in PRE are basically all taken from the apocryphal Book of Enoch.)
    – Argon
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 20:37
  • Rashi in Chumash (somewhere) references this, so I would think it’s within normative Jewish thought.
    – LN6595
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 21:34
  • 1
    Similar judaism.stackexchange.com/q/17414/759
    – Double AA
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 11:40

1 Answer 1


Yehuda Shirpin points out multiple sources where angels did indeed make a mistake -

  1. Chagigah 15a where Metatron was whipped
  2. Rashi (Bereishis 19:22) where the Angels destroying Sedom are handicapped by saying "we" will destroy the city, and continues:

An angel is not merely a robot; it is something like a robot with its own intelligence. Perhaps the best analogy would be one of those androids in sci-fi which have their own intelligence and yet are incapable of deliberately doing something contrary to the function for which they were designed—but nevertheless make mistakes.

This is how the angels who were sent to destroy Sodom sinned. When an angel is sent on a divine mission, it is meant to fulfill that duty while putting its own identity totally aside. However, when the angels went to destroy Sodom, they spoke as if they themselves were going to destroy the city. While this had no impact upon the actual mission, it nevertheless was considered a sin in that it distorted the truth of their role in that mission. This was an error due to their imperfections, rather than a failure to fulfill a divine mission.

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