Let My People Know

"It is only man who can do evil"

Subversive angels are created by the actions of men, by the objectification of malevolence: the evil thought, the hate-inspired wish, the wicked deed. 

For beside its visibly destructive consequences, every act of malice or evil creates an abstract gnostic being, who is a bad angel, an angel belonging to the plane of evil corresponding to the state of mind that brought it into being. 

In their inner essence, however, the creatures of realms of evil are not independent entities living by their own forces; their existence is contingent on our world. 

That is to say, they receive their vital power from our world, their source which they can do no more than copy in various ways on progressively lower planes. 

Just as it is true for the higher worlds that it is man and only man who is able to choose and perform good, so it is only man who can do evil. 

Whatever man does in turn creates and gives forth an abundance of life; his whole spiritual being is involved in each act, and the angel formed thereby accompanies him as his handiwork, as a part of the existence encircling him. 

Like the angels of holiness, the angels of destruction are, to a degree, channels to transfer the plenty that, as it is transmuted from our world, descends the stairs of corruption, level after level, to the lowest depths of the worlds of abomination.

It follows that these worlds of evil act in conjunction with, and directly upon, man, whether in natural, concrete forms or in abstract spiritual forms. 

The subversive angels are thus also tempters and the inciters to evil, because they bring the knowledge of evil from their world to our world. 

And at the same time, the more evil a human being does, the more life-force do these angels draw from him for their world.

On the other hand, these same subversive angels also serve as an instrument for punishing the sinner. 

For the sinner is punished by the inevitable consequences of his deeds, just as the tzaddik or saint receives his reward in the consequences of his benevolent deeds. 

In short, the sinner is punished by the closing of the circle, by being brought into contact with the domain of evil he creates.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From "Worlds" in The Thirteen Petalled Rose by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz