by Yael Flusberg

Kabbalah, behind the Headlines

Mainstream (and Jewish) popularity of kabbalah, which got a boost in 1997 when Madonna embraced it publicly and scores of celebrities followed suit, is more than an overpriced fashion statement of red-string bracelets meant to ward off evil eye. Beneath the hipness of the kabbalah craze lies, for many, a genuine search for meaning. Kabbalah, a Jewish mystical tradition, literally means “received”—via a teacher, or through revelation while meditating on every letter, number, word and story contained within the Torah. It is perhaps most appropriate that this trend exists in a culture where materialism has failed to fully satisfy our thirst for meaning. Women—alternatively viewed in Jewish life as closer to God because of their ability to (pro)create and not holy enough to delve into sacred texts—are seeking particular solace in kabbalah, as two recent books reflect.

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