Chirality and Judaism: Lefties Beware

Leonardo da Vinci was a lefty, as were Michelangelo, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein.

According to Kabbalah, Jewish mystical tradition, the right is also associated with God’s mercy while the left signifies judgment.

" . . .there were defenders on the right and accusers on the left" (Tan., Ex. xvii.)

The latin word for left is "sinister." A left handed compliment does not come out of left field! The english word "maladroit" comes from the french for bad at right or Mal A Droit.

(כא) וַיַּפֵּל֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ תַּרְדֵּמָ֛ה עַל־הָאָדָ֖ם וַיִּישָׁ֑ן וַיִּקַּ֗ח אַחַת֙ מִצַּלְעֹתָ֔יו וַיִּסְגֹּ֥ר בָּשָׂ֖ר תַּחְתֶּֽנָּה׃ (כב) וַיִּבֶן֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֧ים ׀ אֶֽת־הַצֵּלָ֛ע אֲשֶׁר־לָקַ֥ח מִן־הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְאִשָּׁ֑ה וַיְבִאֶ֖הָ אֶל־הָֽאָדָֽם׃
(21) So the LORD God cast a deep sleep upon the man; and, while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that spot. (22) And the LORD God fashioned the rib that He had taken from the man into a woman; and He brought her to the man.

Here, the text says that Eve came from Adam's side - right or left do you suppose?

(יח) וַיְהִ֞י בְּצֵ֤את נַפְשָׁהּ֙ כִּ֣י מֵ֔תָה וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ בֶּן־אוֹנִ֑י וְאָבִ֖יו קָֽרָא־ל֥וֹ בִנְיָמִֽין׃
(18) But as she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.
(יג) וַיִּקַּ֣ח יוֹסֵף֮ אֶת־שְׁנֵיהֶם֒ אֶת־אֶפְרַ֤יִם בִּֽימִינוֹ֙ מִשְּׂמֹ֣אל יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאֶת־מְנַשֶּׁ֥ה בִשְׂמֹאל֖וֹ מִימִ֣ין יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיַּגֵּ֖שׁ אֵלָֽיו׃ (יד) וַיִּשְׁלַח֩ יִשְׂרָאֵ֨ל אֶת־יְמִינ֜וֹ וַיָּ֨שֶׁת עַל־רֹ֤אשׁ אֶפְרַ֙יִם֙ וְה֣וּא הַצָּעִ֔יר וְאֶת־שְׂמֹאל֖וֹ עַל־רֹ֣אשׁ מְנַשֶּׁ֑ה שִׂכֵּל֙ אֶת־יָדָ֔יו כִּ֥י מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה הַבְּכֽוֹר׃
(13) Joseph took the two of them, Ephraim with his right hand—to Israel’s left—and Manasseh with his left hand—to Israel’s right—and brought them close to him. (14) But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head—thus crossing his hands—although Manasseh was the first-born.
  1. Why did Jacob cross his hands? After all, he could have changed the position of the lads?
  2. Sikel et yadav (“He crossed his hands”)—he did his business wisely (be-haskel) and cleverly. For he should have changed around the position of the sons, given that he had in mind to take Ephraim in his right hand and Manasseh in his left; but he did a wise and clever things with his hands, for he did not want to embarrass Manasseh, being the first-born, and had to show him some respect. Hizkuni (Rabbi Hezekiah ben Manoah, 13th-century French exegete).

Rashi views the concluding phrase as adding additional information, namely, that by blessing Ephraim before Manasseh, not only did Jacob determine the form of the blessing for future generations, he also established Ephraim’s future precedence over Manasseh. Just like the midrash, and unlike Rashbam and ibn Ezra, Rashi interprets the word וַיָּשֶֹם (“he placed”) as indicating an additional act of positioning Joseph’s sons and their descendants.

“Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands upon him,” wisdom pertaining to the right side, as it says (Eccles. 10:2): “A wise man’s mind tends toward the right hand, a fool’s toward the left.” Rashi on Joshua.

(טז) וַיַּעַשׂ֩ ל֨וֹ אֵה֜וּד חֶ֗רֶב וְלָ֛הּ שְׁנֵ֥י פֵי֖וֹת גֹּ֣מֶד אָרְכָּ֑הּ וַיַּחְגֹּ֤ר אוֹתָהּ֙ מִתַּ֣חַת לְמַדָּ֔יו עַ֖ל יֶ֥רֶךְ יְמִינֽוֹ׃ (יז) וַיַּקְרֵב֙ אֶת־הַמִּנְחָ֔ה לְעֶגְל֖וֹן מֶ֣לֶךְ מוֹאָ֑ב וְעֶגְל֕וֹן אִ֥ישׁ בָּרִ֖יא מְאֹֽד׃ (יח) וַֽיְהִי֙ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר כִּלָּ֔ה לְהַקְרִ֖יב אֶת־הַמִּנְחָ֑ה וַיְשַׁלַּח֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם נֹשְׂאֵ֖י הַמִּנְחָֽה׃ (יט) וְה֣וּא שָׁ֗ב מִן־הַפְּסִילִים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶת־הַגִּלְגָּ֔ל וַיֹּ֕אמֶר דְּבַר־סֵ֥תֶר לִ֛י אֵלֶ֖יךָ הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר הָ֔ס וַיֵּֽצְאוּ֙ מֵֽעָלָ֔יו כָּל־הָעֹמְדִ֖ים עָלָֽיו׃ (כ) וְאֵה֣וּד ׀ בָּ֣א אֵלָ֗יו וְהֽוּא־יֹ֠שֵׁב בַּעֲלִיַּ֨ת הַמְּקֵרָ֤ה אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ֙ לְבַדּ֔וֹ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵה֔וּד דְּבַר־אֱלֹהִ֥ים לִ֖י אֵלֶ֑יךָ וַיָּ֖קָם מֵעַ֥ל הַכִּסֵּֽא׃ (כא) וַיִּשְׁלַ֤ח אֵהוּד֙ אֶת־יַ֣ד שְׂמֹאל֔וֹ וַיִּקַּח֙ אֶת־הַחֶ֔רֶב מֵעַ֖ל יֶ֣רֶךְ יְמִינ֑וֹ וַיִּתְקָעֶ֖הָ בְּבִטְנֽוֹ׃
(16) So Ehud made for himself a two-edged dagger, a gomed in length, which he girded on his right side under his cloak. (17) He presented the tribute to King Eglon of Moab. Now Eglon was a very stout man. (18) When [Ehud] had finished presenting the tribute, he dismissed the people who had conveyed the tribute. (19) But he himself returned from Pesilim, near Gilgal, and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.” [Eglon] thereupon commanded, “Silence!” So all those in attendance left his presence; (20) and when Ehud approached him, he was sitting alone in his cool upper chamber. Ehud said, “I have a message for you from God”; whereupon he rose from his seat. (21) Reaching with his left hand, Ehud drew the dagger from his right side and drove it into [Eglon’s] belly.
אלא ביתך למה לי כדרבא דאמר רבא דרך ביאתך וכי עקר איניש כרעיה דימינא עקר ברישא
The Gemara then asks: Rather, why do I need the emphasis of the verse: Your house, if every house is obligated in the mitzva of mezuza? The Gemara answers: This could be understood in accordance with the opinion of Rava, as Rava said: Your house is interpreted to mean that the mezuza is placed in the way that you enter the house. And when a person lifts his foot to begin walking, he lifts his right foot first. Therefore, the mezuza is affixed on the right side of the doorway.
דרך ביאתך מן הימין
The term “your house [beitekha]” is similar to the term: You enter [bi’atkha], indicating that one places the mezuza in the way that you enter the house. When a person lifts his foot to begin walking, he lifts his right foot first. Therefore, the mezuza is affixed to the right side of the doorway, as one enters.
ותנא מייתי לה מהכא דתניא רבי יהודה אומר (יחזקאל מג, יז) ומעלותיהו פנות קדים כל פינות שאתה פונה לא יהו אלא דרך ימין למזרח
The Gemara adds: And another tanna cites the source for the ramp’s positioning from here, as it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: The verse states with regard to the future altar: “And its steps shall look [penot] toward the east” (Ezekiel 43:17), which indicates that all the turns [pinot] that you turn should be only to the right and you should turn to the east. Only if the ramp is in the south can one turn to the right and be facing eastward.
רבי יוסי החורם אומר מצינו ימין שנקרא יד שנאמר (בראשית מח, יז) וירא יוסף כי ישית אביו יד ימינו ואידך יד ימינו איקרי יד סתמא לא איקרי ר' נתן אומר אינו צריך הרי הוא אומר (דברים ו, ח) וקשרתם וכתבתם מה כתיבה בימין אף קשירה בימין וכיון דקשירה בימין הנחה בשמאל היא ור' יוסי החורם הנחה דבשמאל מנא ליה נפקא ליה מהיכא דנפקא ליה לר' נתן רב אשי אמר מידכה כתיב בה"י כהה א"ל ר' אבא לרב אשי ואימא ידך שבכח א"ל מי כתיב בחי"ת כתנאי ידכה בה"י זו שמאל אחרים אומרים ידך לרבות את הגידם תניא אידך אין לו זרוע פטור מן התפילין אחרים אומר ידכה לרבות את הגידם ת"ר אטר מניח תפילין בימינו שהוא שמאלו והתניא מניח בשמאלו שהוא שמאלו של כל אדם אמר אביי כי תניא ההיא בשולט בשתי ידיו
Rabbi Yosei HaḤorem says: This is no proof, as we have found that the right hand is also called yad, as it is stated: “And when Joseph saw that his father was laying his right hand [yad yemino]” (Genesis 48:17). The Gemara asks: And the other tanna, who maintains that the right hand is not called yad, how does he respond to this proof? He maintains that the right hand is called “his right hand [yad yemino],” but it is not called a yad without further specification. Rabbi Natan says: This proof is not necessary, as it says: “And you shall bind them for a sign upon your arm” (Deuteronomy 6:8), and then it states: “And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house” (Deuteronomy 6:9). This teaches that just as writing is with the right hand, as most people write with their right hands, so too, the binding of phylacteries must be performed with the right hand. And since binding is with the right hand, this means that donning is on the left arm, as one cannot bind the phylacteries with the same hand upon which he is donning them. The Gemara asks: And from where does Rabbi Yosei HaḤorem, who holds that the right hand is also called yad in the Torah, derive that donning phylacteries is on the left arm? The Gemara answers: He derives it from where Rabbi Natan derives it. Rav Ashi said: The requirement that phylacteries be donned on the left arm is derived from the verse: “It shall be for a sign upon your arm [yadkha]” (Exodus 13:16), which is written with a letter heh at the end. This is expounded as though it stated: Your weak [keha] arm. Rabbi Abba said to Rav Ashi: But one can say that yadkha should be interpreted as yadko’aḥ, with a letter ḥet at the end instead of a heh. If so, this would mean: Your arm that is of strength [shebeko’aḥ], which is the right arm. Rav Ashi said to Rabbi Abba: Is this word written with a ḥet? The Gemara notes that Rav Ashi’s opinion, that the halakha that phylacteries are donned on the left arm is derived from the term yadkha, is subject to a dispute between tanna’im, as it is taught in a baraita: Yadkha is written with a heh, indicating weakness, and this is referring to the left arm. Others say: “Your arm,” i.e., yadkha, serves to include one without a complete arm, i.e., one whose arm ends at the elbow, in the obligation to don phylacteries, as the remaining part is also categorized as a weak arm. It is taught in another baraita: If one does not have a left arm, i.e., not even above the elbow, he is exempt from the mitzva of phylacteries. Others say: Yadkha serves to include one without a left arm even above the elbow, teaching that he must don phylacteries on his right arm. The Sages taught in a baraita: A left-handed person dons phylacteries on his right arm, which is equivalent to his left arm, i.e., his weaker arm. The Gemara raises a difficulty: But isn’t it taught in a baraita that a left-handed person dons phylacteries on his left arm, which is the left arm of every other person? Abaye said: When that baraita is taught, it is referring to one who has equal control with both his hands, i.e., an ambidextrous person. Since such an individual also uses his right hand, he dons phylacteries on his left arm.
תַּנְיָא, אָמַר רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא: פַּעַם אַחַת נִכְנַסְתִּי אַחַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ לְבֵית הַכִּסֵּא, וְלָמַדְתִּי מִמֶּנּוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה דְּבָרִים: לָמַדְתִּי שֶׁאֵין נִפְנִין מִזְרָח וּמַעֲרָב אֶלָּא צָפוֹן וְדָרוֹם, וְלָמַדְתִּי שֶׁאֵין נִפְרָעִין מְעוּמָּד אֶלָּא מְיוּשָּׁב, וְלָמַדְתִּי שֶׁאֵין מְקַנְּחִין בְּיָמִין אֶלָּא בִּשְׂמֹאל. אָמַר לוֹ בֶּן עַזַּאי: עַד כָּאן הֵעַזְתָּ פָּנֶיךָ בְּרַבְּךָ?! אָמַר לוֹ תּוֹרָה הִיא, וְלִלְמוֹד אֲנִי צָרִיךְ.

It was taught in a baraita in tractate Derekh Eretz that Rabbi Akiva said: I once entered the bathroom after my teacher Rabbi Yehoshua, and I learned three things from observing his behavior: I learned that one should not defecate while facing east and west, but rather while facing north and south; I learned that one should not uncover himself while standing, but while sitting, in the interest of modesty; and I learned that one should not wipe with his right hand, but with his left. Ben Azzai, a student of Rabbi Akiva, said to him: You were impertinent to your teacher to that extent that you observed that much? He replied: It is Torah, and I must learn.

מתני׳ בא לו למזרח העזרה לצפון המזבח הסגן מימינו וראש בית אב משמאלו ושם שני שעירים וקלפי היתה שם ובה שני גורלו' של אשכרוע היו ועשאן בן גמלא של זהב והיו מזכירים אותו לשבח

MISHNA: The priest then came to the eastern side of the Temple courtyard, farthest from the Holy of Holies, to the north of the altar. The deputy was to his right, and the head of the patrilineal family belonging to the priestly watch that was assigned to serve in the Temple that week was to his left. And they arranged two goats there, and there was a lottery receptacle there, and in it were two lots. These were originally made of boxwood, and the High Priest Yehoshua ben Gamla fashioned them of gold, and the people would mention him favorably for what he did.

מַתְנִי׳ הַזּוֹרֵק, וְנִזְכַּר מֵאַחַר שֶׁיָּצְתָה מִיָּדוֹ, קְלָטָהּ אַחֵר, קְלָטָהּ כֶּלֶב אוֹ שֶׁנִּשְׂרְפָה — פָּטוּר. זָרַק לַעֲשׂוֹת חַבּוּרָה, בֵּין בְּאָדָם וּבֵין בַּבְּהֵמָה, וְנִזְכַּר עַד שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲשֵׂית חַבּוּרָה — פָּטוּר. זֶה הַכְּלָל: כׇּל חַיָּיבֵי חַטָּאוֹת — אֵינָן חַיָּיבִין עַד שֶׁתְּהֵא תְּחִלָּתָן וְסוֹפָן שְׁגָגָה. תְּחִלָּתָן שְׁגָגָה וְסוֹפָן זָדוֹן, תְּחִילָּתָן זָדוֹן וְסוֹפָן שְׁגָגָה — פְּטוּרִין, עַד שֶׁתְּהֵא תְּחִילָּתָן וְסוֹפָן שְׁגָגָה. גְּמָ׳ הָא נָחָה — חַיָּיב? וַהֲלֹא נִזְכָּר, וּתְנַן: כׇּל חַיָּיבֵי חַטָּאוֹת אֵינָן חַיָּיבִין עַד שֶׁתְּהֵא תְּחִלָּתָן וְסוֹפָן שְׁגָגָה?! אָמַר רַב כָּהֲנָא: סֵיפָא אֲתָאן לְלַכְתָּא וּמִתְנָא.
MISHNA: One who unwittingly throws an object from one domain to another or one who throws an object four cubits within the public domain, and after the object left his hand he remembered that he is in violation of a prohibition, if another caught it, or if a dog caught it, or if it was burned, he is exempt. Similarly, if one threw a rock on Shabbat to inflict a wound on a person or on an animal, for which one is liable to bring a sin-offering, and he remembered that he was in violation of a prohibition before the wound was inflicted, he is exempt. This is the principle: All who are liable to bring sin-offerings are only liable if the beginning of their action and the conclusion of their action are unwitting. However, if the beginning of one’s action was unwitting and the conclusion was intentional, as he became aware that he was in violation of a prohibition, or if the beginning of one’s action was intentional and the conclusion was unwitting, the individuals in both of these cases are exempt until both the beginning and the conclusion are unwitting. GEMARA: We learned in the mishna that if one throws an object unwittingly and then remembers that he was in violation of a prohibition, he is exempt if the object did not come to rest on the ground. The Gemara infers: If the object comes to rest, he is liable. The Gemara asks: Why is he liable? Didn’t he remember the prohibition before it landed, and we learned in the mishna: All who are liable to bring sin-offerings are only liable if the beginning of their action and the conclusion of their action will be unwitting? If one remembered before the act was complete, he should be exempt. Rav Kahana said: With regard to the latter clause of the mishna, we have come to a special case of a bolt and a cord. The bolt is connected to a cord that one holds in his hand, which renders him capable of retrieving the bolt before it lands. Therefore, in a case where the beginning was unwitting and the conclusion was intentional, one is exempt because he is still capable of changing the outcome of the action. However, in the first clause of the mishna, once the object left his hand the action is irreversible, and therefore it is an action whose beginning and conclusion are unwitting.
מַתְנִי׳ הַכּוֹתֵב שְׁתֵּי אוֹתִיּוֹת, בֵּין בִּימִינוֹ בֵּין בִּשְׂמֹאלוֹ, בֵּין מִשֵּׁם אֶחָד בֵּין מִשְּׁנֵי שֵׁמוֹת בֵּין מִשְׁתֵּי סַמָּנִיּוֹת, בְּכׇל לָשׁוֹן — חַיָּיב. אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי: לֹא חִיְּיבוּ שְׁתֵּי אוֹתִיּוֹת אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם רוֹשֵׁם, שֶׁכָּךְ כּוֹתְבִין עַל קַרְשֵׁי הַמִּשְׁכָּן לֵידַע אֵיזוֹ בֶּן זוּגוֹ. אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה: מָצִינוּ שֵׁם קָטָן מִשֵּׁם גָּדוֹל — ״שֵׁם״ מִשִּׁמְעוֹן וּמִשְּׁמוּאֵל, ״נֹחַ״ מִנָּחוֹר, ״דָּן״ מִדָּנִיאֵל, ״גָּד״ מִגַּדִּיאֵל. גְּמָ׳ בִּשְׁלָמָא אַיָּמִין לִיחַיַּיב מִשּׁוּם דְּדֶרֶךְ כְּתִיבָה בְּכָךְ, אֶלָּא אַשְּׂמֹאל אַמַּאי? הָא אֵין דֶּרֶךְ כְּתִיבָה בְּכָךְ! אָמַר רַבִּי יִרְמְיָה: בְּאִטֵּר יָד שָׁנוּ. וְתֶהֱוֵי שְׂמֹאל דִּידֵיהּ כְּיָמִין דְּכוּלֵּי עָלְמָא, וְאַשְּׂמֹאל לִיחַיַּיב, אַיָּמִין לָא לִיחַיַּיב! אֶלָּא אָמַר אַבָּיֵי: בְּשׁוֹלֵט בִּשְׁתֵּי יָדָיו.
MISHNA: One who writes two letters on Shabbat, whether he did so with his right hand or his left, whether they were the same letter or two different letters, whether he did so using two different types of ink, in any language, he is liable. Rabbi Yosei said: One is deemed liable for writing two letters only due to marking, as they would write symbols on adjacent beams of the Tabernacle to know which beam was another beam’s counterpart. Rabbi Yehuda said: We found that one is liable for writing even if he did not complete what he was writing, so that he wrote a small name that constituted part of a longer name, e.g., Shem [shin mem] from the name Shimon or from Shmuel; Noaḥ [nun ḥet] from Naḥor; Dan [dalet nun] from Daniel; Gad [gimmel dalet] from Gaddiel. In all of these cases, the first two letters of the longer name constitute the shorter name. GEMARA: The Gemara questions the beginning of the mishna: Granted, for writing with the right hand let one be liable, as that is the typical manner of writing. However, for writing with the left hand, why is one liable? That is not the typical manner of writing. Rabbi Yirmeya said: When the mishna taught that one who writes with his left hand is liable, they taught it with regard to one who is left-handed. The Gemara asks: And if so, let his left hand have the same legal status as everyone’s right hand; for writing with his left hand, let him be liable, for writing with his right hand, let him not be liable. Rather, Abaye said: This mishna refers to an ambidextrous person, who is liable for writing with either hand.

(ה) דָּבָר אַחֵר, וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה, אָמַר דָּוִד (תהלים עז, ז): אֶזְכְּרָה נְגִינָתִי בַּלָּיְלָה, אָמְרָה כְּנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל נִזְכֶּרֶת אֲנִי אֶת הַשְּׁבָרִים שֶׁהָיִיתָ שׁוֹבֵר אֶת הָאוֹיְבִים בַּעֲבוּרִי בַּלַּיְלָה. וְאֵין נְגִינָתִי אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן שֶׁבֶר, כְּמָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר (איכה ג, סג): אֲנִי מַנְגִינָתָם, וְאוֹמֵר (בראשית יד, כ): אֲשֶׁר מִגֵּן צָרֶיךָ בְּיָדֶךָ. בָּא עָלֵינוּ סַנְחֵרִיב שָׁבַרְתָּ אוֹתוֹ בַּלַּיְלָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים ב יט, לה): וַיְהִי בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא וַיֵּצֵא מַלְאַךְ ה' וַיַּךְ בְּמַחֲנֵה אַשּׁוּר, אָמַר רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה בּוֹא וּרְאֵה אַהֲבָתוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁהֲרֵי מַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת שֶׁהֵן גִּבּוֹרֵי כֹחַ עוֹשֵׂי דְבָרוֹ עֲשָׂאָן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שׁוֹמְרִין לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, וּמִי הֵם מִיכָאֵל וְגַבְרִיאֵל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה סב, ו): עַל חוֹמֹתַיִךְ יְרוּשָׁלָיִם הִפְקַדְתִּי שֹׁמְרִים, וְכֵיוָן שֶׁבָּא סַנְחֵרִיב מִיכָאֵל יָצָא וְהִכָּה בָהֶם, וְגַבְרִיאֵל הִצִּיל בְּמִצְוָתוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לַחֲנַנְיָה וַחֲבֵרָיו. לָמָּה כָךְ, אֶלָּא תְּנָאִין עָשָׂה עִמָּהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אֵימָתַי, כְּשֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ לֵירֵד לְהַצִּיל אַבְרָהָם מִכִּבְשַׁן הָאֵשׁ אָמְרוּ מִיכָאֵל וְגַבְרִיאֵל לְפָנָיו אָנוּ יוֹרְדִין לְהַצִּיל אוֹתוֹ, אָמַר לָהֶם אִלּוּ יָרַד לְשֵׁם אֶחָד מִכֶּם לַכִּבְשָׁן אַתֶּם הֱיִיתֶם מַצִּילִין אוֹתוֹ, אֶלָּא לִשְׁמִי יָרַד וַאֲנִי יוֹרֵד וּמַצִּילוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית טו, ז): אֲנִי ה' אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ מֵאוּר כַּשְׂדִּים, אֶלָּא אֶתֵּן לָכֶם זְמַן אֵימָתַי תֵּרְדוּ עַל שֶׁנִּזְדַּקַּקְתֶּם לְהַצִּילוֹ לִכְבוֹד שְׁמִי, אַתָּה מִיכָאֵל עַל מַחֲנֵה אַשּׁוּר, וְאַתָּה גַּבְרִיאֵל עַל מַחֲנֵה כַּשְׂדִּים. כֵּיוָן שֶׁיָּרַד גַּבְרִיאֵל לְהַצִּיל לַחֲנַנְיָה מִישָׁאֵל וַעֲזַרְיָה, גָּזַר לָאֵשׁ וְיָצָא וְלִהַט כָּל אוֹתָן שֶׁהִשְׁלִיכוּ אוֹתָן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דניאל ג, כב): גֻּבְרַיָא אִלֵּךְ דִּי הַסִּקוּ לְשַׁדְרַךְ מֵישַׁךְ וגו'. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים אַרְבַּע אֻמּוֹת מֵתוּ שָׁם, בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה כְּתִיב (דניאל ג, ג): בֵּאדַיִן מִתְכַּנְשִׁין אֲחַשְׁדַּרְפְּנַיָא סְגָנַיָא וּפַחֲוָתָא וְהַדָּבְרֵי מַלְכָּא, וְכָאן חָסְרוּ אַרְבַּע, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דניאל ג, כז): וּמִתְכַּנְשִׁין אֲחַשְׁדַּרְפְּנַיָא, לְפִיכָךְ אָמַר חֲנַנְיָה (תהלים קיז, א): הַלְלוּ אֶת ה' כָּל גּוֹיִם. מִישָׁאֵל אָמַר (תהלים קיז א): שַׁבְּחוּהוּ כָּל הָאֻמִּים. וַעֲזַרְיָה אָמַר (תהלים קיז, ב): כִּי גָבַר עָלֵינוּ חַסְדּוֹ. הַמַּלְאָךְ אוֹמֵר (תהלים קיז ב): וֶאֱמֶת ה' לְעוֹלָם, אֱמֶת מַה שֶּׁאָמַר לִי כְּשֶׁיָּרַדְתִּי לְהַצִּיל אַבְרָהָם, וְכֵן מִיכָאֵל עָשָׂה מַה שֶּׁאָמַר לוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים ב יט, לה): וַיְהִי בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא וַיֵּצֵא מַלְאַךְ ה', תָּנָא כֻּלָּן פּוֹלֶמַרְכִין וְדֻכָּסִין הָיוּ שׁוֹתִין יַיִן וְהִנִּיחוּ קַנְקַנֵּיהֶם מֻשְׁלָכִים, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְסַנְחֵרִיב אַתָּה עָשִׂיתָ שֶׁלָּךְ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים ב יט, כג): בְּיַד מַלְאָכֶיךָ חֵרַפְתָּ, אַף אֲנִי בְּיַד מַלְאָכִי, מֶה עָשָׂה לוֹ (ישעיה י, טז): וְתַחַת כְּבֹדוֹ יְקַד יְקֹד כִּיקוֹד אֵשׁ. מַהוּ וְתַחַת כְּבֹדוֹ, שֶׁשָֹּׂרַף גּוּפָן מִבִּפְנִים וְהִנִּיחַ בִּגְדֵיהֶם מִבַּחוּץ, שֶׁכְּבוֹדוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם בִּגְדוֹ, וְלָמָּה הִנִּיחַ בִּגְדֵיהֶם, אֶלָּא שֶׁהָיוּ בָּנָיו שֶׁל שֵׁם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית י, כב): בְּנֵי שֵׁם עֵילָם וְאַשּׁוּר, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חַיָּב אֲנִי לְשֵׁם אֲבִיהֶם שֶׁנָּטְלוּ הוּא וְיֶפֶת בִּגְדֵיהֶם וְכִסּוּ עֶרְוַת אֲבִיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית ט, כג): וַיִּקַּח שֵׁם וָיֶפֶת אֶת הַשִֹּׂמְלָה, לְכָךְ אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמִיכָאֵל הַנַּח בִּגְדֵיהֶן וּשְׂרֹף נִשְׁמָתָן, מַה כְּתִיב שָׁם (מלכים ב יט, לה): וַיַּשְׁכִּימוּ בַבֹּקֶר וְהִנֵּה כֻלָּם פְּגָרִים מֵתִים, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (תהלים קא, ח): לַבְּקָרִים אַצְמִית כָּל רִשְׁעֵי אָרֶץ, וְהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְחִזְקִיָּהוּ יוֹשְׁבִין וְאוֹמְרִין אֶת הַהַלֵּל, שֶׁהָיָה לַיִל שֶׁל פֶּסַח וְהָיוּ מִתְיָרְאִים לוֹמַר עַכְשָׁו יְרוּשָׁלַיִם מִתְכַּבֶּשֶׁת בְּיָדוֹ, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִשְׁכִּימוּ בַבֹּקֶר לַעֲמֹד וְלִקְרוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל, מָצְאוּ אוֹיְבֵיהֶם פְּגָרִים מֵתִים, לְפִיכָךְ אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לִישַׁעְיָה (ישעיה ח, ג): קְרָא שְׁמוֹ מַהֵר שָׁלָל חָשׁ בַּז, וּמִהֵר לָבֹז שְׁלָלָם. וְהָאֶחָד קָרָא שְׁמוֹ (ישעיה ז, יד): עִמָּנוּאֵל, לוֹמַר שֶׁאֲנִי עִמּוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברי הימים ב לב, ח): עִמּוֹ זְרוֹעַ בָּשָׂר וְעִמָּנוּ ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ, וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁעָשָׂה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה בְּיַד מִיכָאֵל וְגַבְרִיאֵל, כֵּן לֶעָתִיד לָבֹא יַעֲשֶׂה עַל יְדֵיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (עובדיה א, כא): וְעָלוּ מוֹשִׁיעִים בְּהַר צִיּוֹן לִשְׁפֹּט אֶת הַר עֵשָׂו, זֶה מִיכָאֵל וְגַבְרִיאֵל. וְרַבֵּנוּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ אוֹמֵר זֶה מִיכָאֵל לְעַצְמוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דניאל יב, א): וּבָעֵת הַהִיא יַעֲמֹד מִיכָאֵל הַשַֹּׂר הַגָּדוֹל הָעֹמֵד עַל בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ, שֶׁהוּא תּוֹבֵעַ צְרָכֵיהֶן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמְדַבֵּר עֲלֵיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (זכריה א, יב): וַיַּעַן מַלְאַךְ ה' וַיֹּאמַר ה' צְבָאוֹת עַד מָתַי אַתָּה לֹא תְרַחֵם אֶת יְרוּשָׁלָיִם, וְאוֹמֵר (דניאל י, כא): וְאֵין אֶחָד מִתְחַזֵּק עִמִּי עַל אֵלֶּה כִּי אִם מִיכָאֵל שַׂרְכֶם, אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹסֵי לְמָה מִיכָאֵל וְסמא"ל דּוֹמִין לְסָנֵיגוֹר וְקָטֵיגוֹר עוֹמְדִין בַּדִּין, זֶה מְדַבֵּר וְזֶה מְדַבֵּר, גָּמַר זֶה דְּבָרָיו וְזֶה דְּבָרָיו, יָדַע אוֹתוֹ הַסְּנֵיגוֹר שֶׁנָּצַח הִתְחִיל מְשַׁבֵּחַ אֶת הַדַּיָּין שֶׁיּוֹצִיא אִיפוֹפָסִין. בִּקֵּשׁ אוֹתוֹ קָטֵיגוֹר לְהוֹסִיף דָּבָר, אָמַר לוֹ הַסָּנֵיגוֹר הַחֲרֵשׁ וְנִשְׁמַע מִן הַדַּיָּן. כָּךְ מִיכָאֵל וְסמא"ל עוֹמְדִים לִפְנֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה וְהַשָֹּׂטָן מְקַטְרֵג וּמִיכָאֵל מְלַמֵּד זְכוּתָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְהַשָֹּׂטָן בָּא לְדַבֵּר וּמִיכָאֵל מְשַׁתְּקוֹ, לָמָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים פה, ט): אֶשְׁמְעָה מַה יְּדַבֵּר הָאֵל ה' כִּי יְדַבֵּר שָׁלוֹם אֶל עַמּוֹ, הֱוֵי (תהלים עז, ז): אֶזְכְּרָה נְגִינָתִי בַּלָּיְלָה, עַל נֵס שֶׁל חִזְקִיָּהוּ. דָּבָר אַחֵר, אֶזְכְּרָה נְגִינָתִי, נִזְכַּר אֲנִי מַה שֶּׁעָשִׂיתָ לָנוּ בְּמִצְרַיִם, וּמְנַגְנִין שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ לְמִצְרַיִם, הֵיאַךְ מִתְּחִלָּה כְּשֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְהָבִיא הַמַּכּוֹת עַל הַמִּצְרִים, מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת אָמַר לְהָבִיא תְּחִלָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ד, כג): הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי הֹרֵג אֶת בִּנְךָ בְּכֹרֶךָ. הִתְחִיל אוֹמֵר (שמות ה, ב): מִי ה' אֲשֶׁר אֶשְׁמַע בְּקֹלוֹ. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אִם אָבִיא עָלָיו מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת תְּחִלָּה מְשַׁלְּחָן, אֶלָּא מֵבִיא אֲנִי עָלָיו מַכּוֹת אַחֵרוֹת [תחלה] וּבְעֵקֶב זֹאת אֲנִי מֵבִיא אֶת כֻּלָּן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַה' הִכָּה כָל בְּכוֹר, לְפִיכָךְ דָּוִד מְקַלֵּס (תהלים צ, יא): מִי יוֹדֵעַ עֹז אַפֶּךָ, מִי יוֹדֵעַ נַגְנִין שֶׁלְּךָ שֶׁאַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה בַּיָּם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים עז, כ): בַּיָּם דַּרְכֶּךָ וּשְׁבִילְךָ בְּמַיִם רַבִּים וְעִקְּבוֹתֶיךָ לֹא נוֹדָעוּ, דְּבָרִים שֶׁאַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה בְּעָקֵב מִי יוֹדֵעַ.

(5) Another explanation: "And it was in the middle of the night" - David said (Psalms 77:7), "I recall my music at night:" The congregation of Israel said, "I recall the breakings, that You broke the enemies for my sake at night." And [the term], 'my music' (niginati) only means breaking, as you would say (Lamentations 3:63), "I am their song." And I [would also] say (Genesis 14:20), "who gave over (migen) your enemies into your hand." Sancheriv came against us - You broke him at night, as it is stated (II Kings 19:35), "And it was on that night and the angel of the Lord came out and he smote in the camp of Assyria." Rabbi Nechemia said, "Come and see the love of the Holy One, blessed be He for Israel; as behold, the ministering angels - who are mighty of strength, doers of His will - the Holy One, blessed be He, made them guardians over Israel. And who are they? Michael and Gavriel, as it is stated (Isaiah 62:6), 'Upon your walls Jerusalem, I have appointed guardians.' And when Sancheriv came, Michael went out and smote them; and Gavriel, from the command of the Holy One, blessed be He, saved Chanania and his friends." Why was it like that? Rather the Holy One, blessed be He, made a condition with them. When? When He wanted to go down to save Avaraham from the fiery pit: Michael and Gavriel said in front of Him, "We will go down to save him." He said [back] to them, "If [even] one of you would go down there to the pit, you would save him, but [since Avraham] went down for My name, then I will go down and save him," as it is stated (Genesis 15:7), "I am the Lord who took you out of the Ur Kasdim (understood here as the fire of Kasdim);" "but I will give you a time [to go down and save others."] When did they go down? "Since you were prepared to save him for My honor, you, Michael [will descend] against the camp of Assyria; and you, Gavriel [will descend] against the camp of Kasdim (the Chaldeans)." When Gavriel went down to save Chanania, Mishael and Azaria, he tore the fire and came out and set aflame all those that had thrown them in, as it is stated (Daniel 3:22), "those men that raised Shadrakh, Meshakh, etc." And some say, "Four nations died there: At first, it is written (Ibid. 3), 'Then were gathered the satraps, the prefects, the governors[, etc.]' and the advisers of the king and, here, four [of them] are lacking, as it states (Ibid. 27), 'And the satraps gathered.'" Hence Chanania said (Psalms 117:1), "Praise the Lord, all nations;" Mishael said (Ibid.), "exalt him all peoples;" and Azaria said (Ibid. 2), "Since His kindness has overwhelmed us;" and the angel said (Ibid.), "'and the truth of the Lord is forever' - what He said to me when I went down to save Avraham is true." And so [too with] Michael, [God] did what He told him, as it is stated (II Kings 19:35), "And it was on that night and the angel of the Lord came out." It was taught, "All of the commanders and the dukes were drinking wine and left their receptacles thrown out. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Sancheriv, 'You have done yours,' as it is stated (Ibid. 23), 'By the hand of your messengers have you cursed;' 'I too [will act] by the hand of my messenger.'" What did He do to him? "And under his glory there shall be kindled a burning like the burning of fire." (Isaiah 10:16) What is [meant by] "and under his glory?" That He burned his body from the inside and left his clothing on the outside, since the glory of a person is his clothing. And why did He leave his clothing? Rather, since they were the descendants of Shem, as it is stated (Genesis 10:22), "The sons of Shem were Eilam and Ashur (Assyria)." The Holy One, blessed be He, said, "I am indebted to Shem, their father, as he and Yafet took their clothing and covered the nakedness of their father," as it is stated (Genesis 9:23), "And Shem and Yafet took the cloak." Hence, the Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Michael, "Leave their clothing and burn their souls." What is written there? "And they arose in the morning and, behold, dead corpses." This is [the meaning of] that which is written (Psalms 101:8), "In the mornings, I will annihilate the evildoers of the world." And Hizkiyahu and Israel were sitting and saying Hallel (Psalms of praise recited on festivals), as it was the night of Pesach, and they were afraid to say [it] now - Jerusalem was being conquered by his hand. When they woke up early in the morning to stand and read the Shema and to pray, they found their enemies were dead corpses. Hence, the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Yeshaya (Isaiah 8:3), "'and call his name, "quick take booty, fast loot"' and be quick to loot booty; and the [other] one call 'with us is the Power (Imanuel),' to say that I am with him," as it is stated (II Chronicles 32:8), "with him is the forearm of flesh but with us is the Lord, our God." And just like the Holy One, blessed be He, acted in this world by the hand of Michael and Gavriel, so [too] in the future to come, he will act through them, as it is stated (Obadiah 1:21), "And the saviors will come up on Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esav" - this is [referring to] Michael and Gavriel. And our Holy Rabbi said, "This is Michael by himself, as it is stated (Daniel 12:1), 'And at that time, Michael will stand, the great minister who stands for the children of Your people.'" As he [is the one that] demands the needs of Israel and speaks for them, as it is stated (Zechariah 1:12), "And the angel of the Lord answered and said, 'Lord of hosts, until when when will you not have mercy on Jerusalem?'" And I will [also] say (Daniel 10:21), "and none is being strong with Me except for Michael, your minister." Rabbi Yose said, "To what are Michael and Samael similar? To a defender and a prosecutor standing in court. This one is speaking and that one is speaking. [When] this one finished his words and that one his words, that defender knows that he has won. [Then] he begins to praise the judge, that issues the verdict. That prosecutor [then] requests to add something. The defender [then] says to him, 'Be quiet and let us hear from the judge.' So is it that Michael and Samael stand in front of the Divine Presence; and the Satan [Samael] prosecutes and Michael deliberates on the merit of Israel, and [then] the Satan comes to speak and Michael silences him. Why? As it is stated (Psalms 85:9), 'I will hear what the Power, the Lord, will speak, as He will speak peace about His people.'" This is [the meaning of] "I recall my music at night" - about the miracle of Hizkiyahu. Another explanation: "I recall my music at night" - I recall what you have done for us in Egypt, and the plots (menagnin) that you did to the Egyptians. How is it? At first, when the Holy One, blessed be He, requested to bring plagues upon the Egyptians, He said to bring the plague of the firstborn first, as it is stated (Exodus 4:23), "behold I am killing your son, your firstborn." [Pharaoh] started to say (Exodus 5:2), "Who is the Lord that I should listen to His voice?" The Holy One, blessed be He, said [to Himself], "If I bring the plague of the firstborn first, he will send them [right away], but rather I will bring other plagues upon him (first). And in its heels (beekev zot), I will bring them all," as it is stated, "And the Lord smote every firstborn." Hence David praises (Psalms 90:11), "Who knows the boldness of Your anger" - who knows your plots that You do in the sea, as it is stated (Psalms 77:20), "In the sea is Your way and Your path in the great waters, and Your footsteps (eekvotekha) were not known" - things that you do afterward (beekev), who [can] know?

In Ammud ha-Semali by Moses b. Solomon b. Simeon of Burgos, a contemporary of the author of the Zohar, Samuel and Lilith constitute only the eighth and tenth Sefirah of the left (evil) emanation (Tarbiz, 4 (1932–33), 217f.). In the Zohar, the snake has become the symbol of Lilith, and Samael rides on her and has sexual intercourse with her. Samael is cross-eyed and dark (Zohar Ḥadash 31, 4) and has horns (Tikkunei Zohar in Zohar Ḥadash 101, 3), perhaps influenced by the Christian idea about the horns of Satan. However, the image of Satan is linked with the goat in Targum Jonathan to Leviticus 9:3. The party, hosts, and chariots of Samael are mentioned in Zohar part 2, 111b; part 3, 29a. Different classes of demons, all called Samael, were known by the writer of Tikkunei Zohar (published in the main body of the Zohar 1, 29a). “There is Samael and there is Samael, and they are not all the same.”