Moses ascends celestial heights,
Amidst masses of angelic lights.
They ask, “Why are you so near?”.
“To receive Tablets awaiting here.”
“Go away!”, the angels burn.
“Are such gems for flesh to yearn?”
“These treasures aren't for you,
“ Beings devoid of what's really true!”
Suddenly, God morphs Moses’ face.
N’ Abraham's face takes its place.
“Be ashamed!”, His voice notes.
“Is this how you treat your host?”
“He provided you food n’ drink.”
“Can't you cast him a kindly wink?”
“The clock has cosmically changed,
“Something new has been arranged.”
“As Abraham graciously hosted you,
“So, his descendants will do too.”
“No longer will I feed you light,
“But by Jewish struggle in night;
“As they raise up many a spark,
“From what's earthly n’ dark!”
“From these sparks you’ll eat,
“Delicacies of sacrificial heat.”
Rabbi Moshe Ungar taught that there’s a passage in Talmud which relates that when Moses ascended on high to receive the Holy Tablets, the angels fiercely protested. In response, God changed Moses’ face to the face of Abraham and then proclaimed, “Aren’t all of you so ashamed, this is the man who invited you in and fed you; how can you reject him?”
As Rabbi Ungar continued unraveling this passage, he quoted someone who taught that by changing Moses’ face to Abraham’s, God was conveying to the angels that the cosmic order was on the verge of change. Till now, God fed the angels directly. However, from this point in history and forward, they were going to be fed by the Jewish People using the physical world and it’s objects in Divine service. As they were fed by Abraham, so they will be fed by his descendants.
Until around the period of the Exodus and Mount Sinai, the real elevation of the fallen holy sparks hadn’t yet begun. Hence, there was no holy energies from below rising up. Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Liadi taught that after the Torah was given the angels are fed from the sacrifices offered in the Tabernacle and Holy Temple. Indeed, this is very consistent with how Rabbi Ungar explained the Talmudic passage. In a loose sense, every act of divine service is considered a “sacrifice”, as holy sparks are elevated above, repairing the holy worlds and providing food for the angels.
Additionally, it lends a lot deeper meaning to the story of Abraham hosting the angels (thinking that they were human - at least according to the most conventional understanding). There’s a Midrashic adage, “What occurs to the ancestors foreshadows what will occur to their descendants”. To me, what this means is that what our ancestors did planted the spiritual seeds and patterns for our lives. Just as our parents’ seed shape us biologically, so too what our ancestors did spiritually shape our destiny. They made alterations in the spiritual realms, which became the our railroad tracks in our journey through time.
So, when the first person born Jewish was about to descend into the earthly realm to occupy flesh and blood, God fed the angels via his father Abraham. This set the tone and stage that such is the destiny of the Jewish People - to feed angels. When Abraham fed the angels food though physically it was a charade, perhaps just perhaps, spiritually it wasn’t. Maybe, they integrated the holy sparks lurking in Abraham’s food into the very fabric of their beings?
True that it was probably too premature on the cosmic clock to elevate sparks. However, in this case no “elevation” was necessary. The angels were right there! Perhaps, just perhaps, for the very first time, they savored the unique spiritual taste of what came from below. Now in front of Moses, one could picture God was telling the angels, “Don’t you remember that uniquely tantalizing taste?”
Lest one wonders, “How can the concerns of all angels be addressed by the experience of just three of them?”, according to tradition these weren’t just any three ordinary angels. They were archangels. An archangel is the collective soul of a whole huge population of angels. So by extension, by feeding these three, Abraham may have really fed many, many...