Hashmal

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Ezekiel's "chariot vision", by Matthaeus Merian (1593-1650).

Hashmallim חשמליים (singular Hashmal חשמל) are angelic entities in Judaism.[1]

They appear in the Hebrew Bible in Ezekiel 1:4:

I saw, and behold, there was a stormy wind coming from the north, a great cloud with flashing fire and a brilliance surrounding it; and from its midst, like the color of the Hashmal [often translated electrum] from the midst of the fire, and in its midst there was the likeness of four Chayot חיות (living creatures).

Hashmallim occupy the fourth rank of ten in Maimonides's exposition of the Jewish angelic hierarchy.

The Septuagint translates "hashmal" to "elektron" ηλεκτρον, which means "amber" in English. Francis Bacon coined the English word "electricity" to describe the static electric effect of rubbing amber with cloth. Later, "hashmal" became the modern Hebrew word that translates to the English word "electricity." Jewish poet Judah Leib Gordon coined the modern Hebrew word.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rashi to Ezekiel 1:4
  2. ^ Gilad, Elon. "Word of the Day / Hashmal." Haaretz. 24 April 2013. 24 June 2013.