Shalom Aleichem: Ohev Yisrael: Shared Essence
The heavens or “Shamayim” are a combination of “aish” – fire, and “mayim” – water. God, so to speak makes peace between the Angels of fire and the angels of water, as in “Oseh shalom bimromav,” “Who makes peace in His highest places. “
The Ohaiv Yisrael explains that it is not that God makes the peace, but that there is peace because of God. The angel of fire and the angel of water are each more aware of God than he is of his own essence, and therefore does not pay attention to the differences between him and other angels, but focuses only on their shared attachment to God.
The two angels, described by the Talmud as opposites, that enter our homes on Shabbat, bring the awareness that they are defined as and share the definition of Malachei Hashareit – Angels That Serve God – with them into our home, willing and hoping to share that awareness with us.
They look to see if there is Shalom in the home. Do the members of the family share a sense of belonging to a family, or is each focused only on him?
When they see Shalom in the house, the one angel blesses us and the other responds, Amen,” and shares in the blessing.
It is essential to sing Shalom Aleichem as a unified family in order to receive the angels’ blessing of more Shalom. We cannot greet them as a group of individuals but as a separate entity called a “Family.”