Madonna's new Hebrew tattoo. (Screen grab/Instagram) (Screen grab/Instagram)
Madonna

Pop star sports tattoo of the word “ve’yishakehu,” which she says refers to a kiss, but it is taken from a Biblical verse referring to Esau’s enmity for Jacob.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Pop star Madonna is sporting a new Hebrew tattoo, but it’s not likely she understands what it means. On Sunday, she posted on Instagram a video of herself getting her left wrist tattooed with the word “ve’yishakehu.”

In the video, Madonna explains to her daughter that this is the Hebrew word for a kiss.

The Hebrew word for a kiss is “neshika.” The literal conjugation of Madonna’s tattoo, ve’yishakehu, however, means “and he kissed him.” The word in this conjugated form appears in Genesis 33:4, referring to Esau and Jacob seeing each other for the first time in many years.

“Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and he kissed him, and they wept,” the Biblical verse says.

The dots above the word in Madonna’s tattoo are consistent with how the word is written in Torah scrolls. Some rabbinic commentaries say that the dots indicate that Esau’s kiss was insincere. Others say Esau truly hated Jacob but was overcome by emotion and was sincere in that momentary kiss.

Jewish law prohibits tattoos based on Leviticus 19:28.

Madonna, who was born as Madonna Louise Ciccone, grew up in a Catholic home. She has dabbled in Kabbalah for years and in 2004 adopted the Hebrew name Esther. But she never formally converted to Judaism and in 2015 confirmed that she doesn’t identify with any specific religious group. “I connect to different ritualistic aspects of different belief systems, and I see the connecting thread between all religious beliefs,” she said.

Madonna made headlines for performing at the 2019 Eurovision competition in Israel despite pressure from the BDS movement. But she surprised many people on social media in 2020 by sharing a trailer from a hate-filled speech by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Madonna is the best-selling female music artist of all time.

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