Madonna sported Jewish symbols on her arm in the video for the James Bond theme song Die Another Day. The tattoo is written in Hebrew and is on her right shoulder written are the letters: the letters “lamed”, “alef” and “vav” (from right to left).
There is no such word in Hebrew and you can be sure that all the know-it-alls in the world immediately proclaimed it to be yet another celebrity foreign language tattoo gone bad. But the truth of the matter is that Madonna once again outwitted the sheep.
So called Rabbi, Yehuda Berg, a worldwide religious celebrity known mostly as the spiritual leader of the Kabbalah Centre which Madonna reportedly attends regularly provided the official interpretation.
The “word” on Madonna’s shoulder is not actually a word, but rather one of the names from the 72 Names of G-d. Kabbalah explain that Moses used these names to split the Red Sea, and that we can use them to create miracles in our own lives. Each name draws a particular kind of energy. The name in the “Die Another Day” video is for eliminating the ego.
Kabbalah finds its main source in the Zohar, a text revealed to Moses de Leon in the thirteenth century based ostensibly on the writings of a second-century scholar Simeon bar Yochai. The Zohar parallels a tradition of commentary on the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, but claims there are hidden meanings in the arrangement of and comparisons between letters and words in which these books are written. This form of interpretation becomes quite complicated when the numeric significance of each word (Hebrew letters are each associated with a number) is taken into account.
Madonna began attending the Kabbalah Centre, an international school of kabbalah studies, in 1997 in an attempt to explore spiritual aspects of her life beyond her family or her success as a Material Girl. She was following in a long line of celebrities who, having become disatisfied with mere fame and fortune, turned to mysticism for new insight. The Beatles anticipated this spiritual turn and the seemingly inevitable irritation it provokes in many people.
Rick Ross, an American lecturer on “cults”, suggests a more sinister aspect of Madonna’s specific spritual path by providing links to numerous news articles calling the practices of the Kabbalah Centre, and its director Rav Berg, into question.
The Kabbalarians, a group whose philosophy is inspired by kabbalah, claim the name Lav is associated with an “independent, practical, analytical nature with skillful business abilities.” This describes Madonna but does not shed led either on the process by which the Kabbalarians came to their analysis or the “Die another day” video.
Compiled by J. Andrews