The Gemara cryptically teaches us the hierarchy of angels based on the number of flights required by them to reach their intended destination. Michael, in one flight. Gavriel, in two flights. Eliyahu HaNavi, in four flights. The Angel of Death, in 8 flights.
Why is this important information for us to know on a practical level?
The Chafetz Chaim (Shem Olam 2;11) explains that every angel has his unique mission and they do not do anything for naught. Therefore, they each go at the speed embedded in them. If they would go slower than they will be delayed from fulfilling their mission on time.
I would add that we all have our missions on this earth, although we are not angels, perhaps we should try to focus on getting the mission done and not get distracted or delayed which prevents us from climbing higher in spirituality.
The Gemara tells a story of Rav Yosi who once went to daven in a ruin in Jerusalem as he was travelling. He met Eliyahu HaNavi who, amongst other things, told him off. From this he learned that one should not daven in a ruin, and if one is travelling and needs to daven he should say an abridged Tefila.
What is interesting here is that there is a general rule that the Torah is “לא בשמים היא”, It is not in the heavens (See Shabbos 108a in Rashi). We do not make halachos based on what we hear from heavenly voices or angels or other mystical characters such as Eliyahu Hanavi. So, why did Rav Yosi institute these Halachos after his discussion with Eliyahu?
Rav Elyashiv Zt’l explained that there is a difference as to how Eliyahu appeared; if he came and appeared as an angel, we do not learn from him. However, if he came and appeared as a human, he is like any other Talmid Chacham and we may learn from him.
This Motzei Shabbos, we begin the recitation of Selichos, supplications begging for forgiveness in the advent of the Yomim Noraim. Amongst the many piyutim included in the Selichos, is the piyut of Machnisei Rachamim. Machnisei Rachamim is a piyut that is said at the end of Selichos, asking the Malachim to please bring our supplications and cries before Hashem.