You...with all your flaws, frustrations, addictions, taavot, and failures...YOU are more successful than an angel.
And here's the proof:
Many of us are familiar with the teaching from Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer 22 regarding the angels sent down to this world in the generation of Kayin (Cain, son of Adam).
It didn't end well for them.
Despite their lofty experiences in Heaven & all the awareness they brought with them to this world...yet once immersed in this world, they sank so deeply into this gross existence, they indulged in every possible abomination.
As a result, they remain chained within the Mountains of Darkness (whatever that means exactly) until today.
Likewise, when Hashem sent His angelic messengers to destroy Sedom, even that brief dip in this earthly world polluted them with enough gross materiality to claim: "We are destroying this place" (Beresheit 19:13)—implying a disconnect from Hashem as their Master & Primary Cause of Everything, as if they were acting on their own at their own discretion.
And that resulted from only a brief sojourn in this world, where the angels retained all their memory and experience of the upper worlds and closeness to Hashem.
And they were ANGELS, for crying out loud! Not human beings, but otherworldly angels! Their entire being & creation consisted of the spiritual!
(Just for knowing: This breach in awareness resulted in Hashem banishing them from His Presence for 138 years—Beresheit Rabbah 50:9.)
Because even a brief immersion in our world—an existence suffused with deceptive earthly materialism, affects angels so negatively—is one of the reasons why Hashem needed to come through Egypt Himself (so to speak) for the final Plague (the Death of the Firstborn).
We know this from Hashem's famous statement as recorded in the Pesach Haggadah: "I—and not an angel, and not a seraph, and not a messenger."
As Rav Yaakov Galinsky stated, "The impurity of Egypt was so great that even angels could be defiled there..."
So what does that mean for us?
What does that say about us?
We, who lack any memory of the Upper Worlds...we, born into this wholly material existence which covers any true spirituality or goodness or morality with a veil of deception...
We, many of whom endured either an upbringing completely devoid of Torah or an upbringing mixed with true Torah & a distortion of Torah...
We, NOT composed of light like the angels, but composed primarily of earth and water, keeping us firmly anchored to the earthly world, and covering up our neshamah (which is the only pure light we hold yet cannot see)...
What chance do WE have?
Some Chizuk for All Us Non-Angels
...we are pretty great!
We don't really stand a chance.
Yet for some reason, so many of us ARE doing things simply because HASHEM told us to!
So many of us struggle against the current.
And today, it really is harder than ever.
In this history of mankind, it has never been this all-encompassing.
Think about it.
Sedom was the materialist pinnacle of ancient Mesopotamia.
It was like the Beverly Hills or Palm Beach or Tahiti of today.
(If you develop a whim to copperplate all your plumbing in the middle of the night in Beverly Hills, plumbers exist to accommodate you—for the right price, of course. The point being that in such places, you can micromanage your life to a ridiculous degree and indulge almost any whim you have as long as you can pay for it.)
But because of today's technology, the modern world has become like Sedom if Dr. Frankenstein had messed with it AND then given it steroids & heroin.
And today's impurity is beyond Mitzrayim/ancient Egypt.
They reached the 49th level, but we've reached the 50th (as noted by Rav Itamar Schwartz and many others).
It's so addictive and all-encompassing.
If the angels sent down in the pre-Flood times became so animalistic...
And if the angels sent by Hashem on a mission to destroy Sedom become corrupted by such a brief dip in our world...
And if the spiritual pollution of ancient Egypt proved so potent that no angel could remain unaffected by it...
...then those of us who make any sincere effort to keep Torah must be pretty AWESOME!
Think about it.
Think about our physical composition, our experiences & influences, and how the encroaching tumah pollutes everything with such convincing deceptions and lies.
And think about how even an angel remains unable to merely flit through this world unsullied.
Think about how an angel immersed in this world cannot maintain its purity or nobility on any level.
Yet YOU do!
You try, and you struggle, and you DO do good things.
And that means you succeed more than an angel when faced with the same challenges.
Hopefully, this will encourage you to focus on all the good you do (despite the fails & falls we all endure) and to keep on going with that good (even when it doesn't FEEL good—or important).
But just know: You ARE on a MUCH higher level than you realize.
Just because you try. Or even just because you refrain.
Rav Galinsky (1921-2014) was a tremendous talmid chacham and tzaddik who carried the torch of Novadok mussar throughout the Nazi invasion of Europe, the Siberian labor camps, and the vicissitudes of life in Eretz Yisrael until his passing. His teachings ring with joyful energy & uncompromising devotion to Hashem.