Life is too short for doubt. Whatever you doubt you either really want to do it, or you don’t. So do or don’t, and move on I say.
The Kabbalah is Jewish esotericism. It’s a bit more widely known than people realize, and some of its arguments are arrived at and used by people who aren’t Kabbalists. The basic concept is that Gods essence is incomprehensible to us, and though Christians criticise this mysticism they still use that idea. The universe exists as emanations or expressions of this impersonal unknowable God. God by contraction was able to reveal aspects of its being each in a sense being a heaven, and thus there are references to multiple heavens. Each emanation of the infinite God is an embodiment of one aspect of Gods being of which there are ten (Sephiroth). Connected in a sense to the Ten Commandments, and by understanding these aspects of Gods nature they feel that you can make conscious choices, and can anticipate Gods responses to you and your choices. You can knowingly choose regarding these aspects of the universe as it comes from God.
I thought that Judaism did not believe in heaven or hell? They do not believe in hell. The word itself never even existed in the language of their culture/faith, but they actually do believe in heaven. In early beliefs they even had a concept akin to reincarnation. This was why they spoke of God being unable to tolerate the presence of sin.
All go to heaven? Basically, or are reborn.
If they didn’t believe in hell, what would have been their version of “hell”? Ah, they don’t have any such concept, but the emanations in some schools of Kabbalism have a shadow aspect. The tree of life and its shadow.
So no sense of being punished? Oh, they do and did have a sense of punishment, but they believed it happened while you were alive. That you wouldn’t be allowed spiritual or mortal rest if you were in sin. Thus our concept of “no rest for the wicked“.
Gods wrath will smite you? Basically, yes. Right here and now, and not in any hell after.
Is it correct to relate Kabbalism with a synagogue? Well, some yes. They don’t all embrace the Kabbalistic teachings fully, but individual Rabbis either adopt the teachings or reject them.
I have heard that Kabbalists wrote the Bible, is this true? The Torah, yes. The New Testament seems to show a more diversified element of thinking, and the esoteric lore existed in a lineage of master and student before any writings were done.
The practices are a combination of meditation, prayer, ritual, etc? Yes, and very linked to Jewish religious practices, though those actually vary rather widely.
Ok, I was thinking it was the same as Jewish practice? No, it’s not. At a stage in Jewish history it went from being an overt and public practice to being esoteric, or in the Greek term “occult“.
What was the origination of Kabbalah in relation to Judaism, a common source and they split or something different? Oh, it was a common source, and as the Jewish tribes were being deported from their traditional lands they deemed it necessary to restrict its teaching.
Comparable to Gnosticism and Christianity? Yes, very much so.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.