Definition of Kabbalah in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkabələ/
(also Kabbala, Cabala, Cabbala, or Qabalah)


The ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible, first transmitted orally and using esoteric methods (including ciphers). It reached the height of its influence in the later Middle Ages and remains significant in Hasidism.
Example sentences
  • It's very characteristic of Judaism and of the Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition.
  • The Cabala was a Jewish mysticism which was influential from the 12th century on.
  • Thus far she has used Catholic iconography and explored Buddhism, and is now studying Kabbala, an ancient Jewish mystical tradition.



Pronunciation: /ˈkabəˌlizəm/
Example sentences
  • On a more esoteric note, Kabbalism, an ancient strand of Jewish occultism passed down from Abraham's generation by word of mouth, has now been celebritised.
  • I've read about Kabbalism, but I do prefer the original Judaism though they are related.
  • Anne Conway's concept of substance probably owes much to Platonism and Kabbalism (which, in the version she encountered was heavily Platonised).


Pronunciation: /-list/
Example sentences
  • During the sixteenth century, the mystical Kabbalists of Tsfat developed the ritual of the Tu B'shvat seder, loosely modeled on the Passover seder.
  • We know, of course, that historically the Kabbalists were wedded to traditional Jewish practice, even as they added to it by way of innovation.
  • It was during one of these efforts to get the Jews to convert to Christianity that the great Kabbalist and Torah-Talmud scholar known as Nachmanides came to prominence.


Pronunciation: /ˌkabəˈlistik/
Example sentences
  • Perhaps its most compelling articulation can be found in the writings of ancient Jewish and Kabbalistic theurgical mystics.
  • Basic to Jewish Kabbalistic thought is the idea that everything in the physical world is a metaphor for a spiritual concept.
  • The Kabbalistic philosophers explain that the soul achieves a degree of unity with God, the source of all knowledge, and therefore also partakes of His omniscience.


From medieval Latin cabala, cabbala, from Rabbinical Hebrew qabbālāh 'tradition', from qibbēl 'receive, accept'.

  • cabal from late 16th century:

    Historically, cabal was a committee of five ministers under Charles II of England (1630–85), whose surnames began with C, A, B, A, and L (Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley (Earl of Shaftesbury), and Lauderdale). However, the first recorded use of cabal (from French cabale) was in reference to the Cabbala, the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible. Medieval Latin cabala is the source of several variants of Cabbala, including Kabbalah (the preferred modern spelling), Kabbala, Cabala, and Qabalah, based on a rabbinical Hebrew word for ‘tradition’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Kab·ba·lah

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