Originally published 11/1/10, 1:53 pm.
There is a dispute on B'reisheet 6:2 regarding the definition of "B'nei Elohim".
Are they angels?
children of the "judges"?
Note: Onkelos has a third read: children of the "powerful."
It turns out that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai comes out on two sides of the dispute!
First, See Torah Temimah on B'reisheet 6:2: Ot 2
The TT quotes Yoma 66:b regarding "Azazeil" etc. and the Rashi on that passage and then TT says it is "mashma m'forash b'Zohar."
However, B'reisheet Rabba on THIS Passuq quotes Rashbi that
«B'nei Elohim elu b'nei dayyana» and that Rashbi would curse anyone who would say they were angels [B'nei Elohaya].
This contradiction is noted by the TT himself.
The TT supports the interpretation of the Talmud and Zohar from Avot d'rabbi Nathan ch. 31 that mentions a grave sin was a lack of judges during that era.
This conclusion may be somewhat disputed by Onkelos' definition above, that the Bnei Elohim were neither children of Judges, nor descendants of angels, but children of the "mighty"