Madonna's son has the Kabbalah cut


Last updated at 16:30 13 May 2004

His mother is known as the queen of reinvention, thanks to her frequent changes of image.

Now Madonna's son Rocco appears to be following suit - showing off a completely new look.

He recently had his long blonde locks cut off in accordance with the traditions of his parents' faith, Kabbalah.

And as he enjoyed a meal at a Beverly Hills restaurant with his father Guy Ritchie this week, he looked very much at ease with his change of style.

According to the tenets of the religion - an offshoot of Judaism - a boy's hair must remain untouched until he reaches the age of three.

Sometimes, the first cut takes place on the child's third birthday. But many - including Rocco, whose third birthday was on August 11 last year - wait until the anniversary of the death of one of the movement's founders, the 16th century rabbi Simeon bar Yohai, which is on May 9.

According to custom, male Kabbalah followers gather round and each cut a lock from the boy's head before throwing it on to a bonfire. The ritual is regarded as the youngster's first step into manhood.

A Kabbalah insider said: "Kabbalah devotees insist that a child's hair is not cut until he is three years old.

"It is a big deal to cut the child's hair when the time comes - lots of men in the community gather round and each of them cut a bit off."

According to Kabbalah, young boys can start wearing skull caps after their first haircut, but not everyone chooses to follow this ritual.

"Judging by his most recent appearance, it's safe to say that Rocco will not be adopting that tradition."

Madonna has been a devotee of the obscure religion since the mid-Nineties. Ritchie also became a follower soon after their wedding in 2000.

So devoted is the 45-year-old singer to her adopted faith that she recently donated £3.5million to a Kabbalah headquarters in London's West End, near the couple's home.

Madonna also gives courses in the religion to her friends and always has around her wrist a red piece of cotton - the mark of Kabbalah, said to protect from evil spirits.

She has also penned a series of children's books which she says are based on traditional Kabbalah teachings.

Film director Ritchie, 35, was at first sceptical about the religion, but now regularly attends Kabbalah services with his wife.

He is thought to be considering directing a film about the faith in the manner of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

Despite this, friends of the couple say that Madonna's devotion to Kabbalah is causing problems within the marriage.

One said: "Their relationship has always been a sparring match between two large egos. But this Kabbalah thing is not Guy at all. Since he bought into it he appears visibly to have weakened.

"He was once her match, but he's starting to look like her puppy. The last time I saw them, he had started to call her 'Mother'. It was, quite frankly, sick-making."

The singer - currently rehearsing for her re-Invention world tour, which begins on May 24 - was recently pictured looking tired and wan after leaving a service at the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles.

But her face appeared remarkably line-free, prompting some observers to speculate that she may have had cosmetic surgery, including Botox injections and a mini-facelift.

A spokesman for the singer denied this, saying: "She has absolutely not had plastic surgery in the last few weeks - and, as far as I am aware, she has never had any."

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