Lailah (lay-lah) is the Hebrew word for ‘night’. The ending of the name, lah, is feminine, making Lailah the only angel with a female name and from descriptions, distinctly feminine characteristics as well.
Lailah is referenced in the Talmud, the central text of Rabbinic Judaism. “And he [Abraham] fought against them, he and his servants, “by night” [Hebrew lailah] and smote them.” is interpreted by Rabbi Johanan who said, “The angel who was appointed to Abraham was named lailah [Night].” Rabbi Isaac, the smith also related either God “He”, or an angel “he”, to the stars fighting against Sisera, a commander of the Caananite army of King Jabin of Hazor.
“‘If I go [to battle] and am successful, I will sacrifice my two sons to thee’, he vowed. But his sons heard this, so they killed him, as it is written, And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword etc.6 And he fought against them, he and his servants, by night [lailah] and smote them.”
- Johanan said: “The angel who was appointed to [aid] Abraham was named lailah [Night].
as it is written, [Let the day perish wherein I was born], and the Lailah which said, There is a man child conceived.”
- Isaac, the smith, said: “He [the angel] set into motion the activities of the night [viz.. the stars] on his behalf, as it is written, They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.” Sanhedrian 96, Soncino Talmud.
Also in the Talmud, the interpretation is found of Rabbi Hanina ben Pappa in the 3rd century AD, that Lailah is an angel in charge of conception who takes a drop of semen and places it before God, saying:
“The name of the angel who is in charge of conception is ‘Night’, and he takes up a drop and places it in the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He, saying, ‘Sovereign of the universe, what shall be the fate of this drop? Shall it produce a strong man or a weak man, a wise man or a fool, a rich man or a poor man?’” (Niddah 16b).
Lailah chooses a soul from the Garden of Eden and commands it to enter the embryo. Lailah watches over the development in the womb and shows the rewards and punishments available to the individual. Then right before birth, Lailah strikes the newborn above the lip, making it forget what was learned and creating the philtrum. Lailah serves as a guardian angel throughout a person’s life and at death, leads the soul into the afterlife.
The beat of her wings rests upon our ears
like distant thunder
like the strike of the moon across the hot black sky
She is a rising star and a falling thought
the sweet caress of the mind washed smooth by sleep
Beautiful Leliel, Angel of Night
you’ve been away too long
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