Madonna studies Kabbalah and integrates Kabbalistic themes in her recent cultural productions. Her video-clip promo to James Bond's 'Die Another Day', features the Hebrew letters LAV, which are, according to an ancient Jewish tradition, part of the 72 names of God. Madonna studies Kabbalah at the Kabbalah center, the largest contemporary Kabbalistic group, headed by R. Philip Berg, who developed a postmodern version of the communist Kabbalah of the twentieth-century Kabbalist, R. Yehuda Ashlag.
In the article, I claim that Madonna and the Kabbalah Center express a form of postmodern spirituality, that defies the modernist conception of "religion," and dissolves the distinctions that construct this conception. The practices of the Kabbalah Center express several of the major characteristics of postmodern culture, offering a postmodern bricolage of elements taken from Kabbalah, Philosophy, Science, Movies, TV shows, and Pop-culture. Similar to Madonna's blurring of boundaries between religion and entertainment, the Kabbalah Center effaces these distinctions by integrating Madonna into the Kabbalah Center practices.
Fredric Jameson has argued in "Postmodernism and the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism," that postmodern culture is an expression of late, global (yet, American), multinational Capitalism, in which aesthetic production has become integrated into general commodity production. Similarly, I argue, the spiritual production today is integrated into global Capitalism's commodity production, and Madonna, the Kabbalah Center, as well as many other postmodern spiritual movements are part of the "spiritual logic of late Capitalism."
Madonna, Die Another Day, 72 Names of God, Kabbalah Center, Philip Berg, Yehuda Ashlag, Contemporary Kabbalah, Postmodern Kabbalah, Postmodern Spirituality, New Age.
In this article, I attempt to demonstrate the existence of an organic connection between the seder 'avoda, a piyyut type belonging to the liturgy of Yom Kippur, and the short introductory piyyut that frequently precedes it in liturgical practice-the seder beriyot. The connection is apparent on the thematic level, since the beginning of the seder 'avoda, together with the seder beriyot are both concerned with the story of creation. By means of an analysis of some of the formal properties of these two types, however, I argue that in addition to the thematic connection there exists a formal one as well, and that the seder beriyot grew out of the seder 'avoda through a process of internal differentiation that eventually led to the creation of a new piyyut type. In addition to this argument, I suggest that the introductory piyyut that sometimes precedes the seder 'olam in the liturgy of Shavuot was created by analogy to the seder beriyot.