Kabbalah is an aspect of Jewish mysticism. The Kabbalah deals with such matters as heaven and hell, angels and the devil, what happens to the soul after death and the nature of God and the universe. Mainstream Judaism does not provide definite answers to these cosmological issues.
The Torah contains many stories of mystical experiences, angels, prophetic dreams and visions.
The Talmud considers the existance of a soul inside the body. According to Jewish tradition, all of the Jewish souls were present at the time of the Giving of the Torah, and agreed to the Covenant between God and Israel.
The Kabbalah consists also of meditative, devotional, mystical and magical practices which were taught only to a select few, and traditionally not even taught to people until the age of 40, when they had completed their education in Torah and Talmud. For this reason Kabbalah is regarded as an esoteric offshoot of Judaism.
In the middle ages, many of these mystical teachings were committed to writing in books like the Zohar. Many of these writings were asserted to be secret ancient writings or compilations of secret ancient writings.
The Word Kabbalah
The word "Kabbalah" is derived from the Hebrew rootof "to receive, to accept", and in many cases is used synonymously with "tradition".
There are many alternative spellings of the word, the two most common being Kabbalah and Qabalah. Cabala, Qaballah, Qabala, Kaballah (and so on) are also seen. The reason for this is that some letters in the Hebrew alphabet have more than one representation in the English alphabet, and the same Hebrew letter can be written either as K or Q (or sometimes even C).