Kabbalah 'cleansing' to follow

New York Post/July 7, 2008

If Alex Rodriguez becomes a true kabbalah believer, he'll soon be sporting its famed red-string bracelet on his glove wrist and shelling out millions to the organization, experts say.

A central tenet of kabbalah - an ancient Jewish mystical philosophy - is ridding oneself of the ego, which includes money, and eliminating negativity.

A person can lessen the negativity in his life by wearing a special red-string bracelet on his left wrist, because negative energy enters the body on the left side, kabbalists believe. That happens to be the side that A-Rod faces pitchers with at the plate.

A length of string - long enough to make seven bracelets - is available for a mere $26 on the Web site of the Kabbalah Centre, which runs 14 facilities in the United States.

A believer can then lessen his ego by curbing selfishness - and one of the best ways to do that is to give away money, according to the philosophy.

"Money for the purpose of you is selfish," explains Rabbi Eitan Yardeni, Madonna's first kabbalah teacher. "It is meant to be shared."

A-Rod has much to share.

The Yankee slugger earns about $29 million a year from the Bombers and another $6 million from commercial endorsements. Sports Illustrated has estimated he'll earn $445 million over the course of his career.

Cult expert Rick Ross, who has been watching the Kabbalah Centre since the 19[90]s, says that if Madonna is guiding A-Rod, she will pressure him into making big donations to the center.

"It's called, 'spreading the light,' " he said.

"If Madonna is seriously interested in Alex Rodriguez, he will have to become seriously involved in the Kabbalah Centre. Otherwise, they will break up."

Ross said the Material Girl has donated $10 million to $20 million to the group and helped set up its branch in London.

The center is run by Rabbi Philip Berg, 80, who suffered a debilitating stroke four years ago, and his sons Michael and Yehuda.

Devotees are encouraged to read the 23-volume Zohar, a sort of kabbalah bible, which is written in ancient Aramaic - but not necessarily with their eyes.

The center says followers can run their fingers over the Aramaic letters.

The Zohar's 23 volumes, plus the red string and other kabbalah-blessed goodies, are available in a package deal on the Web site for $495.

Another athlete to embrace the philosophy is US figure skater Sasha Cohen, who won a silver medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics. Cohen, who sports the red-string around her wrist, says she doesn't study the philosophy but believes in its principles.

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