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Cabal vs. Cabala — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 3, 2024
Cabal implies a secretive group with a political agenda, focusing on covert operations, while Cabala refers to an ancient Jewish mystical tradition, emphasizing spiritual interpretations.
Cabal vs. Cabala — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Cabal and Cabala


Key Differences

Cabal is commonly associated with small groups engaging in secret political maneuvers or conspiracies, often seen as deceitful or underhanded. On the other hand, Cabala (also spelled Kabbalah) is a mystical and esoteric interpretation of the Jewish scriptures, seeking to reveal hidden divine truths.
While the term cabal might sometimes refer to the manipulative side of politics, Cabala is inherently spiritual, aiming to understand the nature of God, the universe, and the soul.
Cabal often carries a negative connotation due to its association with secret schemes, while Cabala is viewed positively for its spiritual depth and philosophical insights.
Cabal is generally used in a more secular context, discussing hidden agendas within governmental or corporate spheres. In contrast, Cabala is deeply entrenched in religious studies and practices, offering insights into metaphysical questions rather than worldly power.

Comparison Chart


A secretive political group or meeting
A Jewish mystical tradition


Often negative, implying deceit and conspiracy
Generally positive, spiritual, and esoteric

Context of Use

Secular, political
Religious, spiritual

Primary Focus

Power, manipulation
Divine truths, spiritual understanding

Example of Usage

"The politician was rumored to be part of a cabal."
"He studied Cabala to deepen his faith."

Compare with Definitions


A small group of people engaged in secret or confidential plotting.
The officials formed a cabal to overthrow the government.


Has influenced various aspects of mysticism and modern spirituality.
Many modern spiritual teachings draw from Cabala concepts.


A scheming group seeking to influence or gain power.
The cabal met secretly to discuss their next move.


Involves mystical practices aimed at understanding divine phenomena.
Through Cabala, practitioners seek to connect with the divine.


Often associated with shadowy or conspiratorial actions.
A cabal is often at the heart of political thrillers.


An ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible.
Cabala offers a deeper understanding of the scriptures.


Used in historical contexts to describe covert political groups.
The Stuart cabal was notorious during the 17th century.


Focuses on spiritual enlightenment and connection.
Cabala studies often lead to profound spiritual insights.


A cabal is a group of people who are united in some close design, usually to promote their private views or interests in an ideology, a state, or another community, often by intrigue and usually unbeknownst to those who are outside their group. The use of this term usually carries negative connotations of political purpose, conspiracy and secrecy.It can also refer to a secret plot or a clique, or it may be used as a verb (to form a cabal or secretly conspire).


A system of esoteric philosophy and metaphysics.
Cabala interprets the symbols and hidden meanings in religious texts.


A conspiratorial group of plotters or intriguers
"Espionage is quite precisely it—a cabal of powerful men, working secretly" (Frank Conroy).


Variant of kabbalah. See Usage Note at kabbalah.


A secret scheme or plot.


Alternative spelling of Kabballah


To form a cabal; conspire.


A kind of occult theosophy or traditional interpretation of the Scriptures among Jewish rabbis and certain mediæval Christians, which treats of the nature of god and the mystery of human existence. It assumes that every letter, word, number, and accent of Scripture contains a hidden sense; and it teaches the methods of interpretation for ascertaining these occult meanings. The cabalists pretend even to foretell events by this means.


A secret political clique or faction.


Secret science in general; mystic art; mystery.


(pejorative) A putative, secret organization of individuals gathered for a political purpose.
The cabal is plotting to ruin the world.


An esoteric or occult matter resembling the Kabbalah that is traditionally secret


A secret plot.
The cabal to destroy the building was foiled by federal agents.


An esoteric theosophy of rabbinical origin based on the Hebrew scriptures and developed between the 7th and 18th centuries


An identifiable group within the tradition of Discordianism.


(intransitive) To engage in the activities of a cabal.


Tradition; occult doctrine. See Cabala.


A secret.


A number of persons united in some close design, usually to promote their private views and interests in church or state by intrigue; a secret association composed of a few designing persons; a junto.


The secret artifices or machinations of a few persons united in a close design; intrigue.
By cursed cabals of women.


To unite in a small party to promote private views and interests by intrigue; to intrigue; to plot.
Caballing still against it with the great.


A clique (often secret) that seeks power usually through intrigue


A plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act (especially a political plot)


Engage in plotting or enter into a conspiracy, swear together;
They conspired to overthrow the government

Common Curiosities

What does Cabala study?

Cabala studies the mystical aspects of the Jewish scriptures and seeks to uncover hidden spiritual truths.

Can anyone study Cabala?

Yes, although traditionally rooted in Jewish thought, Cabala has universal aspects that are studied across different cultures.

Is cabal always political?

Primarily, yes, cabal refers to secretive political strategies and manipulations.

Is Cabala associated with any particular religious texts?

Yes, Cabala extensively studies and interprets the Torah and other Hebrew scriptures.

What is a cabal?

A cabal is a small group of people united in some close design, often secret and to gain power or control.

How does the connotation of cabal differ from Cabala?

Cabal often has a negative connotation associated with secrecy and conspiracy, whereas Cabala is viewed positively as a spiritual and mystical tradition.

Are there modern examples of cabals?

Yes, the term is often used to describe perceived secretive groups within governments or corporations.

Does Cabal have any specific historical examples?

Yes, one famous historical example is the "Cabal Ministry" of King Charles II of England.

What spiritual practices are associated with Cabala?

Practices include meditation, prayer, and the study of sacred texts to gain spiritual insight.

How does Cabala influence modern spirituality?

Cabala’s concepts of divine unity and spiritual connection have influenced various new age and spiritual movements.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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