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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Sandalfon

Name of an angel. It is a Greek formation and synonymous with συνάδελφος (= "cobrother"; see "Orient, Lit." 12:618; Levy, "Neuhebr. Wörterb." 3:553a; Krauss, in "Byzantinische Zeitschrift," 2:533; idem, "Lehnwörter," 2:431), and is not Persian, as Kohut supposes ("Jüdische Angelologie und Dämonologie," p. 43; "Aruch Completum," 6:83b). Sandalfon is portrayed, not as the brother of God, but as the brother of see MEṬAṬRON, and these two angels, according to Naphtali Herz ("'Emeḳ ha-Melek," p. 104a) and Jellinek ("Auswahl Kabbalistischer Mystik," p. 5), are "the lads" of Genesis 48:16.

Sandalfon is one of the oldest angel figures of the Merkabah mysticism. A baraita of the beginning of the second century says: "The 'ofan' mentioned in Ezekiel 1:16 is called Sandalfon. He is an angel who stands on the earth, and his head reaches up to the 'ḥayyot' [animal-shaped angels]; he is taller than his fellows by the length of a journey of 500 years; he binds crowns for his Creator" (Ḥag. 13b; comp. Pesiḳ. R. 20 [ed. Friedmann, p. 97a]). The angel Hadarniel led Moses in heaven until he reached the fire of Sandalfon; here he remained standing because he feared the fire. Moses himself was afraid at the sight of it, so that God placed Himself before it for his protection. The crowns that Sandalfon binds on God's head are symbols of praise for the different angels" (Pesiḳ. R. c.).

In the oldest enumeration of the four and the seven archangels (RAPHAEL) Sandalfon is not included. Moreover, he is nowhere found in non-Jewish sources, a fact which designates him as a figure of the esoteric lore of the MERKABAH. As such he became very popular in the post-Talmudic mysticism, in which the mysteries of heavenly halls and of divine throne-chariots that had remained hidden for centuries, came to light and received a written form. His nature remained unchanged. He is the fiercest fire; he keeps his place near God in the seventh hall; he brings the prayers of men before the Deity (Jellinek, "B. H." 1:59; 2:26,56; 3:37; 6:111; Zohar 2:58a, 246a; 3:252b; and elsewhere); and particular powers also are entrusted to him. He is placed over mankind ("Berit Menuḥah," p. 37a, in Bodenschatz, "Kirchliche Verfassungder Heutigen Juden," 3:160), over the month Adar ("Sefer Raziel," 41b), and over the shofarblasts on New-Year's Day (Benash, "Amtaḥat Binyamin," p. 30a). His name should be called on for protection in the forest (ib. 7a); and it occurs on an amulet against abortion (Grunwald, in "Mittheilungen der Gesellschaft für Jüdische Volkskunde," 5:58). In the piyyuṭim he is somewhat prominent as an angel of prayer, and is treated as such by Solomon ibn Gabirol (Zunz, "S. P." p. 478).

Moses Cordovero ("Hekaloth," ch. ) identifies Sandalfon with the prophet Elijah (see also "Maḥzor Vitry," pp. 324 et seq., and "Yalḳuṭ Ḥadash," ed. Presburg, pp. 66-69).

Bibliography:
  • Besides the works cited in the article, Schwab, Vocabulaire de l'Angélologie, p. 201;
  • Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenthum, 2:380,393,394,401 et seq., 851.
W. B.
L. B.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Sandalfon'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/s/sandalfon.html. 1901.

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