Friday, June 18, 2004

Hee Esther Hee Madonna

The tabloids splashed news about Madonna latest Kabbalah-inspired move, the adoption of the move Esther. Now, while Saul Kripke, probably has what to say on the topic, let's blog about this for a minute.
What does the Madonna (the original one, mother of Jesus) have to do with Queen Esther? As any student of Tanach or Talmud knows, the Torah expresses itself in archtypes. Various archtypes are played out repeatedly throughout Sefarim, different historical periods, genres, etc.
If you spend some time reading Christian texts or talking to religious Christians, you find that they interpret these archtypes as either prefiguring Osso ha-Ish (i.e. Jesus) or following his patterns (to turn 1800 years of Christian hermeneutics into a soundbite). In contrast Jewish sources tend to accept archtypal patterns without fitting them into a specific person/event.
So the figure of Mary, mother of Jesus, was seen as the woman who comes and saves her people, prefigured in (among others) Judith of the Maccabees, Queen Esther, etc. So for Madonna to pick Queen Esther as her Jewish name, perhaps she is adopting an earlier more connotatively Jewish figure in the model of the original Madonna. (It's a bit whacked, but then so is any pop-culture criticism, especiallly when you throw in religion, e.g. Academic Buffy)

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