Those Who Burn

Why is their name called seraphim? Because they burn the tablets of Satan. Every day Satan sits with Sammael, Prince of Rome, and with Dubbiel, Prince of Persia, and they write down the sins of Israel on tablets and give them to the seraphim to bring before the Holy One, blessed be He, so that He should destroy Israel from the world. But the seraphim know the secrets of the Holy One, blessed be He, that He does not desire that this nation of Israel should fall. What, then, do the seraphim do? Every day they take the tablets from Satan’s hand and burn them in the blazing fire that stands opposite the high and exalted throne, so that they should not come into the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He, when He sites upon the throne of judgment and judges the whole world in truth.

–Third Enoch 26.12

For those who don’t know Hebrew, the above may not make much sense. The Hebrew word seraphim, שׂרפים, is derived from the Hebrew root saraph, שׂרף, to burn, somehow describing the character of these great beings as burning. I found this passage to be a beautiful explanation for the reason they are called seraphim.

It is also unfortunately timely, as there are still many in the world who desire the destruction of Israel, once again including Persia, and even perhaps, in a way, Rome, if we remember that in ancient midrashim Rome was referred to as Edom, and also know that in certain circles today the Palestinians are now also referred to as Edom. That’s kind of an odd connection, of course, but the point is there….

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