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cabala (cabbala, cabbalah, kabala, kabbala, kabbalah)
Kabbalah is Hebrew for tradition. But the cabala has come to refer to a collection of mystical and ethical Jewish writings, mostly dating from the medieval period. It consists in good part of speculative and symbolical interpretations of Hebrew Scriptures.
There are several cabalistic traditions, some of which are noted for their messianic leanings. One of the more well-known messiahs was Sabbatai Zevi who, in 1666, convinced a large part of the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian world that he was the Messiah. His conversion to Islam is seen variously as a cowardly pseudo-conversion aimed at saving his life or as a necessary step in the redemption of the world.