Raphael the archangel
As the show was being written, it became clear that we needed to root our story with other stories of resilience, culturally referencing films and series such as « Les Ailes du désir », « Ghost story » or « The good place », and their portrayal of angelic or ghostlike characters.
We borrowed the name Raphael from the archangel of the same name. (RAFA is hebrew for healing and EL is God).
He is sent to earth for healing and redemption purposes, in the same way our Raphael is.
Below are excerpts from The Book of Tobit depicting the archangel’s arrival on Earth, including his encounter with Sarah.
The Book of Tobit
II : 10-23
10 But toil brought weariness, and one morning, when he came home, he threw himself down in the shadow of the wall, and quickly fell asleep. 11 As he slept, warm droppings from a swallow’s nest fell into his eyes, and he became blind. 12 This was but a trial which the Lord allowed to befall him, so that he might leave to later ages, as God’s servant Job did, a document of patience. 13 Here was a man that had feared God and obeyed his commandments from infancy; he was smitten with blindness; did he thereupon complain, God was using him ill? 14 No, he remained as stout-hearted a worshipper of God as before, and never a day passed but he returned thanks for the gift of life. 15 Kinsman and clansman might taunt him, as Job was taunted by his fellow chieftains; might call him a fool for his pains, 16 and ask whether this was the reward he had hoped for when he gave alms, and went a-burying; 17 Tobias took them up short. Nay, said he, never talk thus; 18 we come of holy stock, you and I, and God has life waiting for us if we will but keep faith with him. 19 His wife Anna went every day to work at the loom, bringing home what earnings she could; 20 and one day it was a kid that was given her for her wages. When she brought this home, 21 and its bleating reached her husband’s ears, he made great ado for fear it had been stolen; Nay, he said, this must be restored to its owner; never shall it be said that we ate stolen food, or soiled our hands with theft! 22 Fine talk, said she, but the like hopes have played thee false already; what hast thou to shew, now, for all thy almsgiving? 23 With such taunts as these even his wife assailed him.
III : 1-25
1 So at last Tobias fell a-sighing, and he prayed still, but wept as he prayed. 2 Lord, he said, thou hast right on thy side; no award of thine but is deserved, no act of thine but tells of mercy, of faithfulness, and of justice. 3 Yet bethink thee, Lord, of my case; leave my sins unpunished, my guilt, and the guilt of my parents, forgotten. 4 If we are doomed to loss, to banishment and to death, if thou hast made us a by-word and a laughing-stock in all the countries to which thou hast banished us, it is because we have defied thy commandments; 5 it was fitting punishment, Lord, for the men who neglected thy bidding, and were half-hearted followers of thine. 6 And now, Lord, do with me as thy will is, give the word, and take my spirit to thyself in peace; for me, death is more welcome than life.
7 Now turn we to Rages, a city in Media, and another soul that must undergo taunts on this same day, Sara, the daughter of Raguel. It was one of her father’s maid-servants that taunted her; 8 and the ground of it was that she had been married seven times, but each of her husbands in turn had been killed, at the time of his bedding with her, by an evil spirit that was named Asmodaeus. 9 This maid, then, upon being reproved for some fault, had answered, God send we never see son or daughter of thine brought to light! Murderess, where are those husbands of thine? 10 Wouldst thou make as short work with me as thou didst with those seven? At that, Sara withdrew to an upper room of the house, and for three days and nights would neither eat nor drink; 11 all this time she spent in prayer, begging with tears that God would free her of the suspicion.
12 And at last on the third day, her time of prayer ended, she blessed the name of the Lord after this fashion: 13 Blessed is thy name, O God of our fathers, who, though thy anger be roused, shewest mercy still, who dost pardon the sinner that cries out to thee in time of need! 14 To thee, Lord, I turn; on thee my eyes are fixed; 15 and, Lord, my prayer is that thou wouldst either rid me of this clogging suspicion, or else take me away from earth. 16 Thou, Lord, canst bear me witness that I lusted never after man; still have I guarded my soul from shameful desire, 17 nor kept company with the wanton, nor cast in my lot with the lovers of dalliance. 18 If I consented to take a husband, law of thine was my rule, not lust of mine. 19 It seems I was unworthy of these men’s love, or perhaps they of mine; it may be thou wast reserving me for another husband; 20 thy designs are beyond our human reach. 21 But this at least all thy true worshippers know; never was a life of trials but had its crown; never distress from which thou couldst not save; never punishment but left a gateway to thy mercy. 22 Not thine to plot eagerly for our undoing; the storm passes, and thou grantest clear weather again; tears and sighs are over, and thou fillest the cup with rejoicing; 23 blessed be thy name, God of Israel, for ever! 24 Two prayers that day reached the bright presence of the most high God; 25 and Raphael, one of the Lord’s holy angels, was sent out, bearing common deliverance to the suppliants of a single hour.