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Kabbalah (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה‎‎, literally "receiving/tradition") is an esoteric/mystical/occult system that originated in Judaism. It is claimed to reveal the inner meaning of both the Hebrew Bible and traditional Rabbinic literature as well as many other supposed secrets.

Historically, various Jewish esoteric-occult systems have a long history, sometimes closely associated with the study of Rabbinic literature. However, Kabbalah is typically described as originating in 12th- to 13th-century Southern France and Spain. The Zohar is the foundational text. Further major developments occurred in 16th-century Ottoman Palestine. It was popularized in the form of Hasidic Judaism from the 18th century onward.

Kabbalah is sometimes denied to have occult aspects and the association with occultism is claimed to derive from non-Jews mixing Kabbalah with non-Jewish occultism. However, this ignores the existence of so-called “Practical Kabbalah”, which is a Jewish occult system that explicitly involves the use of magic. A counter-argument is by claiming that this is (more recently) only a minor part of Kabbalah, but the large influence of Kabbalah on non-Jewish occultism is likely to some degree related to the occult/magical aspects of Kabbalah.

Even Wikipedia admits that "The appeal to occult power outside the monotheist deity for divination purpose is unacceptable in Judaism, but at the same time it is held that the righteous have access to occult knowledge."

Kabbalah has been argued to have more or less openly influenced a large number of other esoteric-occult movements, such as Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Martinism, Thelema, and the New Age movement.

A recent influential variant is promoted by the "Kabbalah Centre", which is an organization based in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1984 and now has over fifty branches worldwide. It has had numerous celebrity followers (such as Madonna and various Hollywood actors), which may have some form of relationship with Jewish influence: Media. There have been various criticisms of the organization, including financial ones.

Kabbalah has influenced some variants of the rapidly growing Haredi Judaism.

Criticisms have included that some Kabbalistic texts are racist with Jews seen as superior beings, Gentiles seen as evil, and support for Jewish rule over or even the extermination of the Gentiles. Many fundamentalist Jews have been argued to consider Kabbalistic texts to be inspired by God. This has been argued to be a cause of Jewish supremacist views.[1]

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