The first decade of the twenty-first century saw a popular rise of interest in the Jewish esoteric lore known as Kabbalah. Celebrity interest spurred a backlash against New Age trends and a revisitation of the traditional role of Kabbalah in Jewish history. In 2006, the episode “Secrets of Kabbalah” aired on the History Channel’s popular paranormal series Decoding the Past. This article analyzes “Secrets of Kabbalah” in light of Jewish history and the New Age. It argues that the film uses a crisical, lachrymose conception of Jewish history to set up a dichotomy between traditional Jewish Kabbalah and the New Age. That is to say, the film bases itself on a history of crises and tears. The article further argues that the episode contains coded messages of critique against New Age developments in Kabbalah, thereby becoming a quasi-kabbalistic text itself. Finally, the article argues that in a postmodern turn, “Secrets of Kabbalah” becomes a part of the very pop-Kabbalah phenomenon that it sets out to critique through its usage of a history of Jewish crises.
"Decoding the Documentary “Secrets of Kabbalah”: On Jewish Esoteric History and Pop Culture,"
Jewish Film & New Media: Vol. 8:
1, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/jewishfilm/vol8/iss1/1