It is no secret that Madonna is a devotee of Kabbalah. And she isn’t the only celebrity follower of this spiritual organization. Here’s our guide to Kabbalah and why so many of the rich and famous are queuing up to join.
Madonna and Kabbalah
As Madonna was the first to bring Kabbalah to our attention, it seems only fair to start with her involvement. She studies regularly with a personal rabbi from the Kabbalah Centre and no longer performs concerts on a Friday night because it is the onset of Shabbat. Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and is a day of rest in Judaism. It lasts from when the sun goes down on Friday until Saturday night.
The Red String
Madonna also wears the now famous red string. This is worn around the left wrist for protection and is said to bring divine protection from evil spirits as well as bringing good fortune. Truly authentic ‘red string’ has been previously wound around the tomb of Rachel (a Biblical Hebrew matriarch) near Bethlehem.
The Malawi Connection
Madonna has worked with the Kabbalah Centre on a project called ‘Raising Malawi’ to bring aid relief to the African Nation. Madonna has now adopted two children from Malawi.
Other Celebrities who have been associated with the Kabbalah Centre
- Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore
- Britney Spears
- David and Victoria Beckham
- Donna Karan
- Jerry Hall
- Lindsay Lohan
- Lucy Liu
- Mick Jagger
- Naomi Campbell
- Nicole Richie
- Paris Hilton
- Rosie O’Donnell
- Sandra Bernhard
- Zac Efron
So what is Kabbalah?
Kabbalah is far from some new celebrity ‘fad’. Kabbalistic teachings were passed down orally through Jewish families and teachers and were said to have been given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai around 1300 BC / BCE. Some believe that Kabbalah started with Adam.
The Kabbalah Centre (as followed by Madonna) in the United States was founded in 1922 by Rav Yehuda Ashlag, one of the greatest Kabbalists of the 20th century. Before he died, he passed leadership to Rav Yehuda Tzvi Brandwein, who in turn passed it to Philip (Rav) Berg (born Feivel Gruberger). Berg and his wife, Karen, spent several years in Israel and then opened a Kabbalah Centre in New York. The current headquarters of the Kabbalah Centre are in Los Angeles. Karen and their sons Yehuda and Michael are the Directors and Spiritual Leaders of the organization. There are now over fifty branches all over the world, with other major ones in London and Toronto.
The Kabbalah Centre uses Jewish and non-Jewish teachers to instruct anyone in the principles of Jewish Mysticism, whatever their religion, race, marital status or gender. It has faced some opposition from Jewish organizations who say it is essentially non-Jewish and see its’ popularity with Jews as a problem. This is because some forms of Judaism don’t allow Jews to take part in any form of religious ritual with non-Jews.
What do they teach?
Kabbalists believe that all spiritual and religious beliefs are branches of one universal wisdom. As such, the Kabbalah Centre doesn’t offer itself as another religion – but a supplement to all others.
Followers of Kabbalah don’t take the Bible literally but believe it to be a code which can be understood through a knowledge of the Zohar. The Zohar is a commentary of the five books of Moses, called the Torah. The Torah is a group of books which were written in medieval Aramaic and contain mystical discussions on (among many other topics) the origin of the universe, souls, good, evil, and the nature of God.
Some Kabbalistic beliefs
The Light – God is beyond our understanding and so it is more important to nuture a relationship with the essence of God. In the beginning, light is all there was. But light wanted to share and in order to do so, created man to appreciate it.
99% – Our five senses allow us to access only 1% of reality. The remaining 99% is inacessable unless one learns wisdom from Kabbalah. Nothing that happens in the 1% is random. It is a result of the other 99%, which is total happiness and understanding of truth.
Restriction – When anything happens, we respond in an emotional way. If we wish to remove the negative impact of our ego, we must control our emotional response to negative situations. In other words, it’s not what happens to us, but how we react to it that is important.
Klippot – The concept is that we all have a direct connection to God / Light. However, this is blockedby Klippot, which prevents the spiritual energy from entering our physical body. To remove the block, it is necessary to meditate and study Kabbalah. If we do not observe restriction and the 99%, then we add to the Klippot / block and prevent ourselves from becoming closer to the Divine.
Astrology – Rav Berg is an Astrologer and Kabbalists believe that everything is affected by cosmic forces. The Centre says that Rabbis suppressed the Kabbalah almost 2,000 years ago and so astrology was dropped from Judaism. This is not strictly true as medieval Jewish scholars are known to have studied astrology.
If you are interested and would like to know more…