On the Kabbalah Center

Three recent articles pointed my attention to the business enterprise called Kabbalah Centre. An interview with one of its rabbis on beliefnet, an expose in the Telegraph, and a social review of Madonna’s embracing them Boston Globe by Perle Besserman who I value as an authentic source on Kabbalah. The first two nicely correspond with each other. In the expose a cancer patient is exposing their hocus pocus. For me it is riveting read. It shows how they are money hungry idolatrous and departing from the “true” Kabbalah. I had to put that in quotation marks, because I understand that there are many ways to practice it. But departing it to the extent that treating the Zohar itself as a sacred object is too far out fro my taste from the acceptable limits. Selling bottled (Jewishly) holy water is tragically hilarious. One doesn’t even have to contrast it with the shallowness and self-justification emanating from the rabbi’s interview. So simple to look through. OK, I know that I spit some venom here without much logical explanation. But I don’t think it is necessary, as any person reasonably versed in cults/new religious movements and/or Kabbalah could look through this outfit.Perle Besserman is pushing the envelope though in a much more respectable way. Respectable is the key word here. That’s how she treats tradition and the sources. Yes, she wants to see it more egalitarian, but so do I. Yes, that would require some, even significant changes the way Kabbalah works for some. In this context she almost utters a praises in her explanation: Madonna’s Kabbalah is not an isolated phenomenon but part of a widespread trend in the feminist revitalizing of Western religion. Besserman has an open mind along with her agenda. The Bergs’ have an open wallet with their agenda.

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