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'It Landed on Kabbalah. What Would You Like To Do, Madonna?'
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'I'd Like To Spin Again'

Esther - aka Madonna - May Cut Ties with Kabbalah

from AFP

LONDON - Esther may be about to become just plain Madonna again if, as a report suggested, she cuts her much derided ties with Kabbalah, the trendy Orthodox Jewish sect the US singer has championed.

The Independent on Sunday cited close friends of the singer saying she has talked of loosening her red Kabbalah wristband - used to ward off the "evil eye" - and is wearying of the mystical Jewish belief system.

Esther - the adopted Hebrew name by which she is known to fellow believers -- has tired of the financial burden and the effect her strong beliefs have had on her relationship with husband Guy Ritchie, the paper said.

Madonna is also said to be concerned that following Kabbalah separates her children from more conventional customs such as Christmas, which they do not currently celebrate, it added.

The paper cited a spokesman for the singer as saying: "As far as I am aware, it is completely untrue".

Madonna's brand of Kabbalah has upset traditionalists, with religious scholars saying the version as practised both 47 year-old entertainer - with its focus on "inner peace, financial prosperity, power and pleasure" - is a far cry from the Orthodox spirituality prescribed by the sages of old.

An esoteric offshoot of Judaism, Kabbalah's origins can be traced back to the 12th and 13th centuries when its central text, the Zohar, was penned.

Taught only to a select few - pious Jewish males over the age of 40 who have spent a lifetime immersed in the study of Hebrew texts - dedication to Kabbalah requires arduous meditation and a strictly ascetic lifestyle.

Madonna's involvement has certainly raised Kabbalah's profile around the world, however, attracting other celebrities together with their generous donations to the cause.

She devotes several million pounds to the sect each year, as well as buying the venue for the London organisation at a cost of more than 3.6 million pounds (6.7 million dollars, 5.2 million euros), according to the Independent on Sunday.


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