Q. What is your view about Madonna’s highly publicised interest in Kabbalah?
A. I am happy that a star like Madonna has finally admitted that a life of tinsel lacks deeper meaning. I suppose I should also be happy that she is looking at Jewish spirituality to fill the gap. But I wish she did not make such a circus about it.
Ecstatic crowds who are beside themselves at seeing her at a Kabbalah conference in Tel Aviv are probably not doing very much for spirituality, theirs, Madonna’s or anyone’s. A media caravan that follows her to the grave of a kabbalistic author and wax lyrical over her “slinky, low-cut leopard-print dress” tells you more about her advertising agent and very little about her searching soul.
Pardon me for suggesting it, but if anyone really wants to commune with deep reality they will dress modestly, hide away from the public, meditate, and cherish the silence.
Jewish mysticism was never a game for the masses but a serious endeavour to peel away the layers of superficiality in the world and commune with the hidden secrets of true reality. I know that there are popular kabbalists who attract unsophisticated and credulous people who adulate them as wonder-workers. But Jewish mysticism must not be allowed to degenerate into an unholy, unedifying spectator sport, and it does mysticism and Judaism no service to turn it into a circus.