Saturday, February 12, 2005

Tales of the 50 Most Beautiful Kabbalists

From NY Observer, these tales of the Kabbalah:

One day, Britney appeared before Rebbe Mendel of Malibu in the company of her new husband. Unperturbed by the scorn heaped by critics upon her latest album, the young songstress was radiant in a pink charmeuse Heatherette miniskirt, a torn FCUK tee tied at the waist and a red wrist string by Marc Jacobs for Couture de la Cabale. Yet her countenance was downcast.
"Rebbe," she said, "take pity on us and help us. We have been married for six hours, yet we have not conceived a child."
The rebbe, resplendent in a white linen robe-and-pants ensemble by Richard Tyler, pondered for a moment, his brow furrowed in thought.
"My children," he said at last, "tell me: When you have performed the holy act, have you done so with the firm and single intention of fulfilling the commandment to be fruitful and multiply?"
"Well," said the young man, "we were in Vegas, and the MTV was on …. "
"Yes," said Britney, "we did."
"Alas," said Rebbe Mendel, "this is where you strayed from the true path. For to that intention you must add the deeper intention of joining the King with the Queen, that is, the Holy One, Blessed be He, with His Shekhinah, or the divine presence, which is the feminine aspect of the godhead, if we may speak of holy things in the language of men. Thus you will join the upper sephirot with the lower, and heaven with earth, which is the principle of all creation. In so doing, you will help ensure the flow of life in the universe, as well as in your own womb, my child."
Deeply moved, the couple thanked the rebbe and went on their way.
Twelve hours later, they were divorced.

One day, when Rebbe Aaron of Bel Air had just concluded his morning prayers, he received a call from the head of Touchstone Studios.
"Rebbe," cried the wealthy yet pious businessman, "heed the voice of our supplication!"
"Why, what is wrong?" asked the rebbe, concerned.
"Woe is me!" the studio head replied. "This morning, in the midst of shooting his new vehicle A Lot Like Love, Ashton removed all his garments, save only for the red string around his wrist, and crawled under the lighting console, making strange gobbling sounds. There he remains, ignoring our pleas as if deaf to human speech, while 50 of our people look on in dismay, at union scale. Rebbe, it seems the poor boy imagines he is a turkey."
Pausing only to remove his phylacteries by Prada, Rebbe Aaron rushed to the Touchstone backlot. When he arrived, wearing a black silk caftan by Zang Toi and a plush sable streimel by Karl Lagerfeld, the situation was just as the distraught studio head had said. Directors, assistant directors, cinematographers, cameramen, actors, extras, continuity assistants, prop masters, stylists, lighting technicians, boom operators, grips and gaffers all stood about, aghast, as, beneath the lighting console, Ashton strutted about on bent legs, his head bobbing, gobbling sounds emerging from his throat.
"Has this happened before?" the rebbe asked.
"Alas, yes," said the studio head. "Two years ago, on the eve of the Feast of Weeks. We called upon the holy Rebbe Nachman of Encino for assistance. Immediately upon his arrival, he doffed his clothes and crawled under the console with Ashton. When Ashton asked him the meaning of his odd behavior, he responded: ‘I’m a turkey, too.’ To this, Ashton had no reply. So, together, they strutted and bobbed and gobbled for some time.
"Presently," the studio head went on, "Rebbe Nachman put on his trousers. Ashton said, ‘How can you wear trousers if you’re a turkey?’ The rebbe said, ‘And where is it written that a turkey cannot wear trousers?’
"Ashton considered this. Finding that he could give no adequate reply, he put his trousers on too. Rebbe Nachman continued along these lines until, at last, Ashton was acting in all respects like a human being, even if he still fancied himself a turkey."
"So the stratagem succeeded?" Rebbe Aaron asked.
"Like a charm," said the studio head. "Not a single gobble has come forth from him—until this accursed day."
"So," Rebbe Aaron inquired, "why didn’t you call Rebbe Nachman again?"
"Because," replied the studio head, "he’s under contract to Paramount."
Rebbe Aaron pondered for a while, his noble brow furrowed in thought. Finally, without removing so much as a stitch of clothing, he climbed under the console.
"Gobble," said Ashton.
"I don’t know if you’re a turkey," said the rebbe, "but your last film certainly was."
"Gobble?" said Ashton.
"If only the director had possessed the wisdom to use your stunt double for the acting, too, the film might have turned a profit."
"Gobble!" the young star exclaimed, his gorge rising like a wattle.
"Indeed," Rebbe Aaron continued, "the rumor in the house of study is that you are not merely box-office poison, but box-office anthrax."
"You can’t say that!" Ashton cried, leaping from beneath the console and drawing himself up to his full, buff, 6-foot-3 height. "That’s slander. Demi, where’s my cell phone?"
"In your pants," replied his lean, well-muscled, middle-aged love interest, jaw-droppingly sexy in a Star of David–spangled blue spandex duotard by Donatella Versace that displayed her washboard abs to full advantage, and a red string by John Varvatos for Mercedes-Benz’s Carma line.
As Ashton, his dark brown eyes flashing fire, wedged himself into his ink-blue distressed-calfskin jeans by Michael Kors, the rebbe smiled. Laying his hand upon the young man’s head in benediction, he took his leave.

One fine summer day, Barbra, Roseanne and Madonna were lounging about the open-air, Olympic-size mikvah at Barbra’s rustic, 4,700-square-foot beach house in East Hampton, Long Island. They had just performed the sacred monthly immersion in this secluded place, safe from the prying eyes of men, except for the Mexican gardener.
When they had talked for some time of their latest shows, films, records, contracts, lawsuits and lovers, they began to argue over which of them had ascended to a higher rung of the cosmic ladder that leads, at last, to the Eyn Sof, the unknowable nothingness that transcends all things. As the debate became heated and there was no agreement in sight, they called Rebbe Schneur Zalman of Amagansett and asked him to come and judge between them.
As it happened, the Rebbe was just then immersed in a particularly difficult and delectable passage of the ancient book of Jewish culinary mysticism, the Zabar. Though reluctant to leave his studies, he was so impressed by the strength of the women’s piety that he agreed to come at once.
"Do you think we should get dressed?" asked Roseanne.
"No need," their host assured her. "The rebbe is so pious that he won’t even notice!"
Indeed, when the rebbe arrived, glowing with holiness in a simple white kittel by Zac Posen and a stunning silk brocade skullcap-and-prayer shawl ensemble by Luca Luca, he gave no indication whatever that he was aware of the women’s dishabille. As he made a practice of avoiding the sight of the opposite sex, his gaze was firmly fixed upon the earthy, salmon-colored paving stones that Barbra’s decorator, Waldo Fernandez, had imported from Arizona together with the skilled Hopi craftsmen who alone could fit and join them. Yet he listened intently to the women as each, in turn, testified to the height she had attained in climbing the Tree of Life.
"I tell it like it is and I don’t take no shit," said Roseanne, who, save for a red string by Zaftique, was naked as the Holy One, Blessed be He, for reasons best known to Himself, had made her. "Hence, I have ascended to the sephirah of Gevurah, or Strength, corresponding to the left arm of the divine being."
"I am a person who needs people," said Barbra, curvaceous and womanly in a classic red string by Chanel. "Thus, I have ascended to the sephirah of Hesed, or Love, corresponding to the right arm of the divine being."
"I have reinvented myself a thousand times," said Madonna, voluptuous yet sinewy in a red string she had designed for her own Shiksa line of mystic accessories. "Hence, I have ascended to the highest sephirah: Keter, or the Crown, the root of roots, the inner wisdom that precedes all creation, indeed all emanation."
The rebbe pondered their words, his brow deeply furrowed above furry eyebrows by Oscar de la Renta beneath which, to tell the truth, it was impossible to know where his eyes were turned.
"My children," he said at last, "all of you have risen so far beyond me on the ladder of holiness that you are lost to my sight. How then can I tell which of you has risen highest?"
Well satisfied with this answer, the women gave each other high-fives, thanked the rebbe and sent him on his way.
—Evan Eisenberg

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