The term Kabbalah refers specifically to the form of Jewish mysticism that became widespread in the Middle Ages. However, in recent decades it has essentially become a generic term for the entirety of Jewish mystical thought. Literally meaning "that which is received," the Kabbalah comprises a series of esoteric traditions dating back to biblical times and is still very much alive today. It deals with subjects such as the creation of the world, the nature of God, the ecstatic mystical experience, the coming messianic era, and the nature of the afterlife. Ultimately, the Kabbalah represents the Jewish form of what all mystical traditions strive for; a direct and intimate knowledge of the divine on a level beyond that of the intellect.

More about: Kabbalah


  • c. 900 - c. 1000
    A commentary is written on the proto-Kabbalistic the Sefer Yetzirah.
  • c. 1200
    The Sefer HaZohar or "Book of Radiance" is written.
  • 1534 - 1572
    Life of rabbi Isaac Luria, also referred to as the Ari ("the lion").
  • 1663
    Sabbatai Zevi travels to Israel where he is proclaimed the promised messiah.