Madonna to A-Rod: Like a Prayer?
Here today, gone cabala. It happened to Madonna; it's happening to A-Rod; for a while, it even happened to Britney. You reach the pinnacle of fame, fortune and truly fabulous muscle tone, and what's left?
Judaism. OK, so it happens to be the most esoteric expression of Judaism since the goose-shaped chopped liver — a form many American Jews never even will encounter.
What does cabala offer our superstars, and why should we care? What do those superstars offer each other , and why do we care? And why did Guy Ritchie — aka Mr. Madonna — dress his kids in Yankees gear over the weekend?
I will attempt to answer all of the above Ö starting with Guy Ritchie.
Slapped into the red-hot center of rumors about his wife and Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, Ritchie took his sons out for a very public stroll in their pint-sized pinstripe regalia.
This was not only classy but also showed the kind of rock-solid faith most of us hope to get from, well, religion. Ritchie was blazing with faith in his wife and the universe: Things are what they are, and I accept them, no matter how weird, amen.
By contrast, earthly torment has been swirling around everyone else in the story. Cynthia Rodriguez filed for divorce from A-Rod on the basis of long-term infidelity. There was the busty blond stripper (is there any other kind?) last year. But more recently, Rodriguez says she found a letter from her husband to the Material Girl calling her his "soul mate."
It's enough to drive you to Paris 10 weeks after the birth of your daughter, which is exactly where Mrs. Rodriguez went.
Meanwhile, Madonna adamantly has denied any romance with the randy religion seeker — but divorce rumors are swirling around her, too. Is she tired of Guy, who can't make a decent movie? Or is Guy tired of his wife, who just made the album "Hard Candy"? For someone who supposedly is reinventing herself constantly, "hard-bodied, sex-obsessed singer" does not sound like a Madonna we never have seen before.
So what was left for arguably the best baseball player in America and arguably our most famous female singer?
According to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of "Kosher Sex" and arguably at the pinnacle of his profession (OK, it's not a huge pool: rabbis to the stars), cabala offers a radical new re-appreciation of life.
"Celebrities become addicted to the red-carpet lifestyle," he said.
That's heady stuff, even when it's watered down and bracelet-festooned and served up in what Beliefnet blogger Rabbi Brad Hirschfield calls a "vast oversimplification" that treats God like a "vending machine."
He's not so keen on the Kabbalah Centre Madonna loves. Others are more open.
"You should judge people favorably. I'm sure they're looking for something," Rabbi Mendel Jacobson said of A-Rod and Madonna. Trying to connect to the divine is nothing to sneeze at.
Trying to connect to each other? That has people more puzzled.
"The guy is shirking his fatherly duties to hang out with a woman who receives AARP (The) Magazine and takes Centrum Silver," Baltimore writer Dan Collins said. His point was echoed by most guys I spoke to: Madonna is still in great shape, yes. Amazing. Talented. But sexy?
A-Rod, meanwhile, has his own cross to bear. He's a future Hall of Famer who has yet to win a World Series. He's a great hitter. But in the clutch?
If nothing else, it sounds as if the singer and the slugger would have a lot to talk about. And it sounds as if cabala has a lot to say, too.
Lenore Skenazy is a columnist at The New York Sun and Advertising Age. To find out more about Lenore Skenazy (firstname.lastname@example.org) and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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