City of Angels
This invocation was delivered by Rabbi Bradley S. Artson, the new executive vice president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, at the Los Angeles City Council on August 4.
"Jacob's Vision,"18th century Italian engraving. Drawing from "My Jewish World," 1973.
"I have been thinking a lot about angels and what it means to be a City of Angels. In the Bible, it is very confusing because the word malach , the word 'angel,' is used for these creations that come into existence and disappear when their job is over. Sometimes they disappear completely, and sometimes they emerge as God. The identity of an angel in the Bible is not as a separate creature, but of God's will embodied in deed. When God needs something done, it is as an angel that God does it.
"In Los Angeles, we claim to be a City of Angels. What is it that angels do? Angels bring hope when there is despair; they bring love when there is hatred. They bring people in when they are shut out and feeling lost. They provide shelters for the homeless and care to the children.
"My friends, if there are to be angels in this City of Angels, then we must be those angels. It is my prayer that this council will be an instrument for God's love and God's care, as will all of us everyday.
"Let us say Amen."