Kabbalists believed that there is a gap between how mankind can understand God and what God actually is. This unknowable aspect of God is called Ein-Sof.
Mysticism involves attempting to communicate with or directly experience the divine. Monks and nuns have often used meditation and prayer to induce mystical states but it can also involve esoteric practices like kabbalah. Read articles about mysticism below.
Mysticism is not new to Judaism. It dates back at least to the 6th century BCE with Ezekiel’s visions of the divine chariot (called merkavah mysticism) in Isaiah. In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. […]
When a voice told Francis to go and “repair my house,” he started a new Order devoted to a life of poverty.
Another popular mystic of the 12th century, Bernard was born in 1090 and entered the monastery of Citeaux to escape the corruption of the world.
At a time when very few woman were literate and held status, Hildegard wrote over 300 letters and was widely respected for her mystical visions, medical knowledge, and musical compositions.