kabbalah

noun, often capitalized
kab·​ba·​lah | \ kə-ˈbä-lə How to pronounce kabbalah (audio) , ˈka-bə-lə How to pronounce kabbalah (audio) \
variants: or less commonly kabbala or kabala or or cabbala or cabbalah

Definition of kabbalah

1 : a medieval and modern system of Jewish theosophy, mysticism, and thaumaturgy marked by belief in creation through emanation and a cipher method of interpreting Scripture
2a : a traditional, esoteric, occult, or secret matter
b : esoteric doctrine or mysterious art

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Other Words from kabbalah

kabbalism \ ˈkä-​bə-​ˌli-​zəm How to pronounce kabbalism (audio) , ˈka-​ \ noun
kabbalistic \ ˌkä-​bə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce kabbalistic (audio) , ˌka-​ \ adjective

Examples of kabbalah in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In code, artists were able to include references to alchemy, astrology, and even kabbalah, a mystical branch of Judaism. National Geographic, "Explore tarot’s centuries-old history in Milan," 16 Jan. 2020 While Isaac Luria expounded the kabbalah following the expulsion from Spain, Joseph Caro updated the practical application of halakhah in the Shulchan Aruch code of laws (1563). Dominic Green, WSJ, "‘A History of Judaism’ Review: The Book of Books," 30 Mar. 2018 Gershom Scholem, the pioneering scholar of kabbalah, was one of many public intellectuals who felt that Arendt had lost track of the human reality of the Holocaust amid the scintillating twists of her argument. George Prochnik, New York Times, "The Philosopher in Dark Times," 12 Apr. 2018 While Isaac Luria expounded the kabbalah following the expulsion from Spain, Joseph Caro updated the practical application of halakhah in the Shulchan Aruch code of laws (1563). Dominic Green, WSJ, "‘A History of Judaism’ Review: The Book of Books," 30 Mar. 2018 Incarcerated, not so much for his libidinous ways, but for gambling, cheating tourists, his flagrant libertinism in the face of the Venetian Inquisition, and his heretical interests in alchemy and the kabbalah. Gaile Robinson, star-telegram, "Kimbell’s ‘Casanova’ follows the seducer’s trail through Europe – adult-only art and all," 30 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'kabbalah.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of kabbalah

1521, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for kabbalah

Medieval Latin cabbala — more at cabal

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Time Traveler for kabbalah

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The first known use of kabbalah was in 1521

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Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Kabbalah.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kabbalah. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on kabbalah

Nglish: Translation of kabbalah for Spanish Speakers

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