MALACHIM Jewish Angel Cards

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The Evolving Tradition of MALACHIM Jewish Angel Cards
       
Malachim is the Hebrew word for messengers or angels. Each of the 40 MALACHIM Jewish Angel Cards has an artistic image and a blessing word in English, Hebrew, and transliteration on one side. They are 1x3 inches big, making it easy to hold the set or an individual card in your hand.

The tradition of MALACHIM began in a circle of friends in Jerusalem in the late 1980s. We sang the beloved song Shalom Aleichem to honor the beginning of Shabbat (the Sabbath), noting that the words of the song welcome the "messengers/angels of peace," which are said to frequent the homes of those who celebrate Shabbat (Talmud, Tractate Shabbat, page 119a). I created a set of MALACHIM, messages, to accompany our  singing.

Ways to enjoy MALACHIM Jewish Angel Cards

As with all good folk traditions, uses and understandings change over time. People use the MALACHIM for Shabbat, holidays, Rosh Hodesh (New Moon Celebrations), birthdays, personal reflection and meditation, and to deepen their knowledge of Judaism and Hebrew. Here are some ways that you might want to use them:

  • You can lay the MALACHIM face down, take a moment for personal reflection, or Kavannah (intention), and then randomly select a message. The malach/message might affirm, remind, or inspire you – or maybe it sparks a new understanding.

  • There is a tradition that we are given a neshama yetara (extra soul) on Shabbat so some people pick two at the beginning of Shabbat, after singing Shalom Aleichem.  

  • You can pick from the MALACHIM during Havdallah, the ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat, to find a focus as you begin your new week. 

  • Sometimes, in groups,  people share how the message affirms, nudges, reminds, or inspires them (or doesn't). Sometimes people keep it to themselves.

  • You can use the MALACHIM in families, in community, in solitude. Enjoy!

MALACHIM Jewish Angel Cards were created by Deborah Eisenbach-Budner. In
creating them, she drew from her academic knowledge of Judaism (MA in Jewish
Studies from Brandeis University) as well as over two decades of work in
Jewish ritual innovation and Jewish Education (directing synagogue education
programs, teaching Jewish Studies to adults and youth of all ages).