I&A.com: Cybermystics

Original Article Published On The Jerusalem Post

Madonna is not the fist singer to write a children’s book but she’s probably the first to name a character “Bina” – “understanding” in Hebrew. In “The English Roses,” the four other main characters are jealous of the blonde-haired Bina’s seemingly perfect life. And Madonna’s likely also the first who offers “special thanks” to a rabbi and rebbetzin: “Harav and Karen Berg for their infinite wisdom and support.”

“Harav” is the controversial Yehuda Berg of the Kabbalah Centre, long an inspiration for the singing kabbalist. An article posted on the “men’s portal,” http://askmen.com re-ports that Madonna recently told Matt Lauer on NBC’s Dateline that she has been “a kabbalist” for seven years; she claims that its teachings have taught her to be more patient and less demanding.

At www.madonna.com, the writer/singer’s authorized site, where you can preview the beautiful illustrations by Jeffrey Fulvimari for “The English Roses,” the home page offers a link to http://www.spiritualityforkids.com, a Kabbalah Centre site, where you learn the oversimplified version of what kabbalah is – “the original spiritual wisdom… its purpose is to illuminate the minds and hearts of man” – in addition to info on the Kabbalah Centre, and about Karen Berg’s audio program for raising spirituality-minded children.

From there, you can click a link to http://www.72.com where Yehuda Berg, author of “The 72 Names of God – Technology for the Soul,” invites you to download a screensaver, http://www.72.com that “allows you to meditate on the power of each of the 72 names (of G-d) while your computer is idle.

Madonna has gone further than simply downloading the screensaver; she reportedly has “the Holy Name of God” tattooed to her right shoulder, a fact that catches the attention of Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok in his article “Madonna’s Kabbalah – Not Kosher” on his website, http://www.koshertorah.com Tzadok also has choice words for Berg, who he feels has provided a “gross misrepresentation of the true teachings of kabbalah” – an opinion rather common among rabbis and Jewish experts on Jewish mysticism.

To get an overview of non-Madonna kabbalah, try http://www.aish.com or http://www.myjewishlearning.com or www.jewishencyclopedia.com, where you will find a good explanation of the classical mystical work, the Zohar. Or take an on-line Zohar course “from a liberal perspective” at http://www.kolel.org

If your real interest is celebrities, an article on http://www.webprowire.com reports that Britney Spears, of infamous TV kiss of Madonna fame, is reportedly “studying occult techniques of the mystical kabbalah.”

You never know where a kiss can lead.

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