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Urban Studies

Transformation of the Jewish Cultural Code of Sefer in the Social Strata of the Shtetl

Kotliar Elena Romanovna

PhD in Art History

Associate Professor, Department of Visual and Decorative Art, Crimean EngineeringandPedagogical Universitynamed afterFevzi Yakubov

295015, Russia, Republic of Crimea, Simferopol, lane. Educational, 8, room 337

Other publications by this author

Zolotukhina Natal'ya Anatol'evna

PhD in Cultural Studies

Associate Professor, Department of Fine and Decorative Arts, Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University named after Fevzi Yakubov

295015, Russia, Republic of Crimea, Simferopol, Uchebny str., 8, office 337










Abstract: The subject of the study is the transformation of the main Jewish cultural code of the Sefer -Book, from stratum to stratum in the culture of Jewish shtetls. Shtetls were called urban-type settlements in Eastern Europe - the Jewish pale of settlement. The Sefer code, originally embodying the foundations of Jewish law and worldview, the written and oral Torah, pointed to the path to the Almighty through its study. The perception of the rules within each stratum differed in a number of features: the Misnageds, as well as the Karaites and Krymchaks, had strict adherence to the laws, and the Hasidim had an emotional perception. With the advent of the Jewish Enlightenment-Haskalah, and later the globalization of the twentieth century, the Sefer code began to personify the light of knowledge as a whole, as the main goal, including both religious and secular sources. Education in the religious stratum was perceived as the knowledge of God and his creations, and in the atheistic environment - as an end in itself, remaining the main goal in all strata. The obtained research results can also be applied to ethnocultural studies of other ethnic groups. The study applied the method of historicism in retrospect of the functioning of the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, the comparative method in the comparative characteristics of cultural and religious concepts of various Jewish communities, methods of analysis and synthesis in the formulation of the scheme of cultural codes and their conjugations. The study for the first time characterizes the author's universal morphological scheme of Jewish cultural codes, from which the hierarchy and interrelationships of the main groups of symbols, as well as the key meanings and the main meaning, which is the center of intersection of all codes, are understood. Conclusions: 1. The cultural area of the Eastern European shtetl towns was distinguished by stable patterns associated with the compact residence of the Jewish population and traditional occupations, as well as a worldview based on the Jewish religion. After the disappearance of the shtetls due to globalization, the cultural and ideological foundation became the basis of the activity and thinking of scientists, literary and artistic figures who emerged from it. 2. The Sefer cultural code embodies not only the Torah and its derivatives, but also identifies the main goal - the acquisition of knowledge, which is the same for representatives of all social strata of the Shtetl - Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Jews, Karaites, Krymchaks, Misnageds, Hasidim, representatives of Haskalah, and later atheists and agnostics.


Cultural code, Judaism, semiosis, shtetl, Sefer, Torah, Talmud, Mishnah, Gemara, social stratification

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

One of the main goals of culturology and culturantropology is to characterize the study of the multifaceted essence of culture, the features of its dynamics, types and forms of its manifestation. Among these forms, national and ethnic self-identification occupies a special place, being formed in the process of ontogeny and phylogeny, including religious, moral, ethical, aesthetic norms, as well as features of the semiotic components of the cultures of each ethnic group [1, p. 6].

This issue becomes acutely relevant at the turn of centuries and millennia, when, on the one hand, it is about preserving the "idea of culture" against the background of universal globalization, and on the other, when there is a "clash of civilizations", where it is difficult to overestimate the importance of national identity [1, p. 4-6].

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), the founder of German classical philosophy, put forward theses on the need to create a civil society that provides for the regularity of moral improvement of people who differ in their social status, upbringing, and abilities. The highest manifestation of human culture, in his opinion, is the morality of man and society.

Ethnic culture refers to phenomena whose diversity is manifested both through language (verbally) and through cultural texts expressed in other ways (auditory, visual, audio-visual), embodied in folk religious and ritual traditions, music, song, dance, fine and decorative arts. The subject of research by ethnologists and cultural anthropologists in order to identify both common features in pre-cultures or in the process of cultural convergence, and unique patterns of identity of each ethnic group is the study of the characteristics of each of the ethnocultures.

The famous Russian ethnogeographer, sociologist and cultural critic Nikolai Yakovlevich Danilevsky (1822-1885) in his main work "Russia and Europe" (1869) identified a number of "cultural and historical types", the main marker of which is religion. "Religion is the moral basis of any activity" [2, p. 157], "Religion was the most essential, dominant (almost exclusively) content of ancient (...) life, and (...) it also contains the predominant spiritual interest of ordinary (...) people" [2, p. 577]. It can be stated that ethnic identity was historically based (before the globalization of the twentieth century), primarily on religious dogmas. The same idea was expressed by other ethnographers, in particular, V. V. Stasov [15].

N. Y. Danilevsky put forward the ideas of cultural unity, integrity, based not on synthetism, but on the interaction and integration of unique cultural subjects: ethnic groups and civilizations, despite the isolation of individual "cultural and historical types". Danilevsky called the cultural-historical type or civilization the totality of science, art, religion, political, civil, economic and social development of groups of ethnic groups in a certain territory, the main parameter of the association of which is the kinship of languages. Among the laws of the development of cultural and historical types put forward by the author, the following statement is contained: "A civilization peculiar to each cultural and historical type only reaches completeness, diversity and richness when the ethnographic elements that make up it are diverse - when they, without being absorbed into one political whole, using independence, form a federation or a political the system of states" [2, p. 113].

Introducing the term ecology of culture into the scientific thesaurus, D. S. Likhachev put into it the idea of preserving the socio-cultural space by recognizing the intrinsic value of all its constituent types of culture, in particular, ethnic ones. These ideas follow from his "moral postulates", in particular, about interethnic tolerance: "Morality is what turns the "population" into an orderly society, humbles national enmity, forces the "big" nations to take into account and respect the interests of the "small" (or rather, the small)."

Sign systems, including ethnic ones, are the subject of semiotics, a science that emerged as a philosophical trend at the end of the XIX century, and developed in parallel in two directions: semiology and pragmatics [5]. The foundations of semiology are contained in the works of the Swiss linguist, semiotic and philosopher Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), who studied the semiotics of the linguistic sign. Saussure derived the concept of a "two-sided sign" consisting of a word (signifier) and the meaning of the form (signified) [14]. according to Saussure, the connection between the signifier and the signified is conditional: the meanings of the sign may differ for different groups of people.

The founder of pragmatics was the American mathematician, philosopher and logician Charles Sanders Pierce (1839-1914), who characterized signs as artificial (for example, letters) and natural (psychological reactions) from the point of view of logic. The scientist believed that the whole universe consists of logically constructed signs. According to this theory, anything that means (for a particular person or group of people) a certain object can be called a sign. Symbols of Ch . Pierce called signs that outwardly do not resemble the signified object, but have an arbitrary ratio adopted by one or another group of people [13].

Italian writer, specialist in medieval aesthetics and semiotics, philosopher and cultural theorist Umberto Eco (1932 2016), based on the concept of the sign Ch. Peirce, developed the concept of a sign and a set of signs to codes meaning not a specific, but a generalized object. In his research on the theory of semiotics, U. Eco called a message transmitted by a sign or a series of signs a text.

The famous Soviet and Russian cultural critic, semiotic Yuri Mikhailovich Lotman (1922-1993), based on the research of French structuralists, put forward the theory of the semiosphere a closed space consisting of individual cultural texts expressed through symbols. According to Lotman, the semiosphere is distinguished by a continuum of different texts within common borders, where these internal texts are either related or understandable from each other's point of view, unlike external texts, which require an additional translation mechanism. Thus, the unique integrity of the semiosphere is its internal diversity and heterogeneity of content. Yu. M. Lotman also pointed out the algorithm for the formation of new texts within the semiosphere, which requires, on the one hand, a certain similarity of the original cultural codes, and on the other, differences between them [11]. An example of such a semiosphere is the cultural area of Eastern European Jewish shtetls, whose social strata were representatives of Jewish ethnic groups.

Ethnic groups that lived in the territories of the Shtetls (including in the Crimea) and profess Judaism (a religion based on the Torah the Mosaic Pentateuch) include:

Ashkenazi Jews are an ethnic group professing Talmudic Judaism (whose creed is based on the Tanakh (consisting of the Torah (the Pentateuch of Moses), the books of the Prophets and Hagiographers) and the Talmud (the book of interpretations of the Tanakh by the sages). The term Ashkenaz comes from the Hebrew name of medieval Germany, which has been found in Jewish sources since the tenth century. Ashkenazim were called Eastern European Jews-immigrants from Germany who settled as a result of migrations in Poland and the Baltic States. The spoken language of the Ashkenazim was Yiddish, a German dialect, and the language of worship was Hebrew (Hebrew). Ashkenazim are followers of the Palestinian tradition in liturgics.

Another Jewish subcultural region was Sefarad, which included the Iberian peninsula and the southern part of France. Natives of this region are called Sephardim. Due to their separate development, there are differences in cultural characteristics, languages and liturgical practices between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Sephardim are followers of the Babylonian practice of worship, their literary language for a long time was Arabic, and their spoken language was Ladino.

Italian Jewry, as a subcultural type, combines features of both traditions both Ashkenazi and Sephardic.

The Jews who migrated to the Crimea with its annexation to the Russian Empire, overwhelmingly belonged to the Ashkenazim, who subsequently created their own traditional community on the territory of the peninsula [3, p. 52].

Karaites ("reading") (selfdesignation "karai" or "karai" in the singular, "Karaim, karaylar" - in the plural), the people of Crimea, professing non-Talmudic Judaism (self-designation Karaism), the essence of which is following the Torah and not accepting any of its interpretations (including the Talmud). Despite the fact that the Karaite language, like Crimean Tatar, belongs to the Kypchak group of Turkic languages, the writing of the Karaites and Krymchaks is based on the Hebrew alphabet [6].

The Krymchaks (selfdesignation "krymchakh" in the singular, "krymchakhlar" in the plural) are the people of Crimea, professing Talmudic Judaism of the Sephardic sense with admixtures of local traditions. The ethnonym "Krymchak" first appeared in official documents of the Russian Empire in 1844, to distinguish this Jewish group from Ashkenazi Jews who migrated to Crimea from Russia and Poland since the end of the XIX century. The names "Crimean Jews", "Constantinople Jews", "Turkish Jews", "Crimean Rabbanites", "Crimean Rabbinists" are also found in documents and literature. In the khan labels issued in the XVI century to individual representatives of the community, there is the name "yahudiller Karasu" ("Jews of Karasubazar"). At least from the XVI XVII century. The Crimean Tatars switched to the ethnolect of the Crimean Tatar language (Kypchak group). An interesting feature is the use of the Crimean people as the pronounced name of the Almighty "Allah", which indicates a single continuum of not only everyday speech terms, but also religious concepts [7].

To clarify the determination of the Jewish cultural code, it is necessary to determine what its function is decisive for this study.

Under the cultural code in modern cultural studies, it is customary to understand the key to the concept of a certain picture of the world. The concept of "code" comes from a technical environment, its meaning consists in deciphering languages, however, the meaning of the term has been expanded to a philosophical level. There are several definitions of the cultural code:

1. Cultural code as a sign structure (in pictorial semiotics a certain circle of images);

2. Cultural code as a system of ordering (use) of symbols (in our case in pictorial symbols, for example in ornamentation canon: type of construction, composition, order of precedence, values, etc.)

3. Cultural code as a kind of accidental or natural correspondence of the signifier and the signified (in visual embodiment, it can be applied to archaic symbols present simultaneously in the cultures of many peoples, for example: sun, tree, wave)

The functions of the cultural code are:

a) deciphering the meaning of individual phenomena (texts, signs, symbols) in the absence of a code, the cultural text remains closed (in the case of visual semiotics, for example, ornament, in this case it is perceived only from the point of view of stylistics, compositional features, color, etc., without deciphering the meanings of its elements and their totality)

b) the relationship between the signifier (sign) and the signified (object, phenomenon, meaning);

F. Saussure explained the term cultural code with the help of linguistics, language construction. However , the subject of our article is more closely related to the proposed U. Eco is a semiotic concept of the S-code (semiotic code), according to which the image is constructed according to strictly defined canons, rules of combinatorics. Also, according to him, the same statement (image) can be understood differently (from different angles) by representatives of different groups. So, in the case of an ornamental motif (for example, a tree), its meaning can be perceived differently by representatives of different ethnic groups.

Exploring an extensive layer of artifacts, we consider it expedient to present the codes of Jewish mythology and pictorial semiosis in the form of a diagram of the type of Euler circles (Fig. 1). The diagram of the Swiss, Prussian and Russian mechanic and mathematician Leonard Euler (1707-1783) "Euler circles" allows you to visually identify the relationships between subsets by superimposing planes on each other.

The diagram below shows the interaction of the cultural codes of Judaism, each of which represents a group of symbols, the source of which is the Torah, as well as its interpretation:

We have identified five codes with the help of which the main meanings of any traditional images concerning Jewish culture are revealed, with the following names:

1. Sefer Code (Book)

2. Menorah Code

3. Number Code

4. The Rimon Code

5. Bestiary Code

The Sefer code is the main "Book" (Hebrew), which includes all other codes, is depicted in the diagram in the form of a large lilac circle, inside which the four remaining circles (codes) are placed. The Sefer code includes all the key verbal sources that are the basis of Judaism [10].

The main difference between Judaism and other ancient beliefs was monotheism. According to the Jews, God, through the prophet Moses, gave them a set of laws (Covenant) in the form of tablets, obliging to strictly adhere to the commandments and not to honor other gods. Subsequently, this covenant was formed into a number of sacred books, including the Torah (the Pentateuch of Moses), Neviim (the Books of the Prophets) and Ktuvim (the Scriptures), which are the basis of Judaism as a creed. In recognition of the extremely important role of this code in the life of the Jewish people, it is sometimes referred to simply by the word Sefer Book, in many parts, Sfarim Books. The Commandments and Laws of Moses constitute "the semantic core of Judaism ... the basis of the Jewish religion, as well as the basis of Jewish ethics and law"; it is "the central document of Judaism" [3].

The canonical version of the written Torah was designed by the scribes Ezra and Nehemiah. In 457 BC, the scribe priest Ezra brought to Jerusalem from Babylon a version of the Torah used by the Babylonian exiles. There were other versions of Scripture in Jerusalem at that time, so there was a need to streamline the canonical version of the Torah. Ezra and Nehemiah have done this work for 13 years with the support of dignitaries and elders (the autonomous Administration of Judea). After the completion of the written canon of the Law, it became necessary to popularize, introduce and explain it. Thus, in Judaism, the second part of the Law was formed the so-called oral, consisting of interpretations of the written Law.

The active process of forming the Oral Law the Oral Torah began in the IV century BC. The oral Torah contained eschatological ideas that were not illuminated or poorly illuminated in the written Torah: about the immortality of souls, the afterlife, the Last Judgment the posthumous retribution for earthly sins (violations of the commandments), as well as many prescriptions concerning religious andhousehold rituals [4]. There is a postulate that the Oral Torah was given to Moses simultaneously with the written law, but it was written down by the sages later. The written formalization of the oral Law the Talmud dates back to the IIV centuries. According to the figurative characterization of the Israeli rabbi, Torah translator, founder of the Institute for the Study of Judaism Adin Steinsaltz (1937-2020), "If the Bible [means the Torah author's note. articles] are the cornerstone of Judaism, then the Talmud is its central pillar supporting the entire spiritual and philosophical code ... (It) is a collection of oral laws developed by generations of sages in Palestine and Babylonia up to the beginning of the Middle Ages."

The Oral Law, united by the common name Talmud ("teaching" Hebrew), consists of two components: the Mishnah and the Gemara.

The Mishnah, in turn, includes Halacha, Midrash and Haggadah. The Mishnah in its present state was edited in the third century . Yehuda Ha-Nasi. The first printed edition of the Mishnah appeared around 1485 .

Halakha is a set of laws, prescriptions (both in written and oral Torah). The Code of the basic laws of Halakha, used up to the present time inclusive Shulkhan Aruch (lit. "set table" Hebrew) It was structured and recorded by the Spanish rabbi, a major authority and expert on the Jewish canon, Yosef ben Ephraim Karo (1488-1575).

Midrash is a genre of homiletic and exegetical literature consisting of sermons by sages, parables that explain the essence of a particular law or phenomenon described in the Torah.

A ggada is a creatively reworked parable or a real story from the life of the sages, presented with artistic fiction, demonstrating in the form of an allegory the effect of a prescription or punishment for its nonfulfillment. The Aggada is also essentially a midrash. The earliest Midrash that has come down to us is the Easter Haggadah, which contains a description of the Passover holiday and prescriptions for the traditions of its veneration.

The name Gemara was originally positioned as a later synonym of the Talmud, that is, interpretations of the Torah and Mishnah, which arose in the era of persecution of the Talmud as an anti-Christian work. In a number of sources, Gemara is called the Talmud as a whole, as well as its individual chapters. However, in fact, the Gemara is a separate and later source containing additions and interpretations of the sages to the already existing chapters of the Mishnah.

Kabbalah belongs to one of the most famous and widespread (up to the present time inclusive) mystical and esoteric currents of Judaism, in which the ontological essence of God and his role are considered, as well as attempts are made to interpret certain hidden meanings of the Torah. The current arose in the XII century, but its main spread was in the XVI century. Initially, the term Kabbalah was used for all books that were not included in the Pentateuch, and later for the entire Oral Law, but since the 12th century the sages began to emphasize the esoteric component of their teachings. During the heyday of Kabbalistic teaching (1270-1320), the main book of its postulates was written Sefer ha-Zohar, or, abbreviated, Zohar ("book of radiance" Hebrew). The book contains mystical interpretations of various Torah plots. In fact, the Zohar is a book of Midrash eschatological content, written on behalf of travelers to Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel), the main theme of which is the knowledge of God, and at the same time, the recognition of his unknowable [10].

Yellow Circle Menorah code;

The name of the Menorah (as the main and most ancient Jewish symbol) is given to a code that deciphers a group of skewomorphic images of Jewish cult attributes.

Green circle code Rimon "garnet" (Hebrew);

The name Rimon (as one of the Jewish symbols of unity in faith) was chosen for the code combining phytomorphic images. It is worth noting that the image of the pomegranate as a symbol of unity is also used in other cultures and ethnic groups, however, it has a different meaning, for example, among the Turks the unity and multiplicity of family, clan. In the Torah there are descriptions and mentions of various plants: pomegranate, grape, fig, palm, cedar, aloe, almond, olive, thorn, oak, wheat, etc. The key phytomorphic symbol is two Paradise trees: the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Red Circle Number Code;

The Number code combines numerical symbols, and is also named identically to one of the books of the Torah. According to the Jewish worldview, there are no minor details in the Torah, each aspect of it carries both direct and allegorical meaning. The main method of Jewish dialectics, pilpul, is based on the search for hidden meanings and the explanation of contradictions in Scripture. One of the aspects of Kabbalah is the translation of texts (words) The Torah into numerical values (due to the literal spelling of numbers in Hebrew), and the subsequent decoding of the values of these numbers.

The purple circle is a Bestiary code that combines zoomorphic, as well as zooanthropomorphic images: animals, birds, fish (including mythological, chimerical). Zooanthropomorphism is a distinctive eschatological category of this circle of images in Judaism, since absolutely all animals or chimeras are presented for the purpose of humanizing the image, including visually (animals are often depicted in human poses for example, bears walking on two paws, lions, animals with human eyes, muzzles resembling a face, etc.) [10].

Figure 1. Scheme of codes of Jewish culture.

Jewish towns ("myastechko" (Polish) "town"), or "shtetlach" in Yiddish, were called semi-urban settlements in Eastern Europe, as well as small towns of up to 20-25 thousand inhabitants, with a predominance of the Jewish population in them, engaged mainly in trade and crafts.

Jews began to settle here in the times of Kievan Rus, but mass migrations began in the XV century. During this period, the growing Polish and Lithuanian states, united by the Union of Lublin in 1569 into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, created especially favorable conditions for the resettlement of Jews fleeing persecution from Western Europe. As a result of the policy of developing new lands, Polish feudal lords invited Jews for the economic development of their cities, gave them special privileges and allocated certain quarters in their possessions. These quarters became the basis of that cultural phenomenon, which was called the "world of the Jewish shtetl" or "shtetl". Later, the towns themselves began to be called shtetls, in which the number of Jews ranged from 30 to 80% and above. The "golden age" of Jewish communities was interrupted by the Polish-Cossack war of 1648, as a result of which many communities were destroyed by Khmelnitsky's troops and the world of Jewish towns was almost completely ruined. The subsequent revival of communities in the XVIII century was also interrupted by the pogroms of the times of the Haidamatchina, nevertheless, by the time of the fall of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the partitions of Poland (1772-1795), Eastern European Jewry had a fairly powerful autonomous organization, economic recovery and demographic growth.

After the partitions of Poland, parts of it went to Austria, Prussia and Russia, and the multi-million and integral Jewish population remained assigned to the corresponding territory and began to live according to the laws of its new state.

On the territory of the Austrian Empire in 1789, Emperor Joseph II issued the so-called "Edict of Tolerance", written under the influence of the ideas of French enlighteners, in which the equation of the rights of all faiths was proclaimed. However, later, with the coming to power of Joseph II's successors, most of the reforms were canceled.

The Russian Empire inherited vast territories in which, together with the Kingdom of Poland annexed in 1815, about a million Jews lived. Even before that , in 1791 , Catherine II limited a special list of localities in which Jews were allowed to enroll in estates to equalize their rights with Christian merchants and philistines, marking the beginning of the "Jewish pale of settlement." This "trait" (which also included the territory of Crimea) became the basis of that form of life of the Russian Jewry of the former Shtetls of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which preserved their life and traditional way of life. The social realities of Jewish life, together with their internal laws and traditions, created the conditions for the existence of the shtetl with its unique artistic culture, which was part of these traditions. The 1880s were marked by waves of Jewish pogroms throughout the empire, which resulted from the assassination of Tsar Alexander II; they were regularly repeated until the last years of the civil war in 1921, influenced mass emigration, the emergence of the Zionist movement, and also left a deep mark on people's memory and creativity.

The revolution of 1917 removed the pale of settlement, equalizing Jews with the rest of the population, but the policy of militant atheism destroyed religious foundations, putting Judaism, like other faiths, practically outlawed. Most of the population moved from the former pale of settlement to large cities. The traditional life of the town was being destroyed, and its place was occupied by the policy of national self-determination; the shtetl became a "cultural reserve", fading before our eyes, as well as the object of attention of figures of the new Jewish culture, who perceived it as their cultural "cradle" [4].

The inner life of Eastern European Jewry was based on the prescriptions of "Halakha" Jewish legislation based on carefully regulated laws of the Torah. At the beginning of the XVI century . they were codified by the Jewish scholar Y. Karo in the universal code "Shulkhan-Aruch", which has become authoritative in almost the entire space of the Jewish world. Along with this, the life of the community and its socio-economic sphere were regulated by special selfgovernment bodies - kagals, who were subordinate to local authorities and were intermediaries between the owners of the towns and the community. The formation and development of kagal autonomy was promoted by the state. The Kagals were part of a wider circle of Jewish autonomy, the socalled VAADs, whose main body was the VAAD of the Four Lands of Poland (Greater Poland, Lesser Poland, Chervonnaya Rus (Galicia) and Volhynia) - the central body of Jewish self-government in Poland from the 16th century to 1764 [8].

Culturally, the concept of "shtetl" by the nature of a peculiar way of life, religious isolation and culturalnational autonomy of the community, was inseparable from the concept of "Yiddish culture", which received its name from the Yiddish language the German dialect of Jewish immigrants from Germany.

Of great importance in the life of the Shtetls was traditional education, the purpose of which was to study the Torah and the books of the interpretations of the sages. Traditional educational institutions functioned in small towns (often at synagogues). Jewish boys (and by the end of the XIX century, many girls also received primary education in the "heder" it was considered mandatory for the age category from 6 to 13 years. Free schools were established for poor students "Talmud torahs". The higher Talmudic school "yeshiva", after which the young man could become a rabbi, was under the care of a rabbi. A high level of traditional education was considered the most significant criterion when choosing a candidate for marriage, the nobility of the family or the wealth of the young man's family was much less important. It should also be noted that the desire for education was identical to the main goal of the Jews the knowledge of God through the wisdom of the Torah given to them, and the levels of this knowledge assumed not just a literal acquaintance with the texts, their deep philosophical understanding was considered the highest level [9].

In Judaism, there is a concept of Pardes "Garden of Eden" (Persian) four levels of knowledge of the Torah: pshat, drash, remez and Sod. The first of them, pshat, is the study of the literal meaning of the text of the Torah, understood verbatim. Comments of the pshat level are also contained in the most common commentary of Rashi (a Jewish Talmudic scholar from France, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1040-1105). The second level, drash, is an abbreviation that has several meanings and is understood as "interpret, teach". This level includes the homiletic literature of the Midrash Talmud, explaining in the form of parables the meaning of a particular place in Scripture. The interpretations of the drash level are aimed at understanding the logical meaning of the Torah text, using thirteen ways of its interpretation, first mentioned in connection with the sage Hillel (112 BC 8 AD), and later designed and recorded by Rabbi Ishmael. The Drash-level Torah commentaries derive from its texts the rules that were given to Moses at Sinai, but subsequently lost. The third level of Torah cognition, remez (hint), consists in an allegorical interpretation of the Torah, leading to the knowledge of hidden symbolic meanings, in other words, deciphering hints. The sages believed that the text of the Torah contains all the information about the world, since the Almighty created the world guided by the Torah. Various encodings were used to decipher hidden meanings. There were quite a lot of them, the most common of them was, for example, adding the first or last letters of words after a certain numerical interval, and getting new words or meanings. The interval number was important and had to relate to the requested topic.

The last, fourth level of knowledge of the Torah, called sod (mystery), reveals to students the hidden parts of the Torah its structures belonging to the abstract world. This level is achievable only after passing and understanding the previous three. According to Kabbalistic teaching, the whole Creation developed through emanation from an unknowable essence En Sof (infinite), which is synonymous with God. The term En Sof belongs to the outstanding Jewish Kabbalist of France Isaac (Isaac ben-Abraham) the Blind (c.1160c.1235). En Sof, according to his teaching, is an infinite unknowable multitude of creative forces, the main potential, the beginning of everything that exists. The result of this development was the emergence of the ten Sefirot the primary, or ideal numbers, originating from En Soph and forming all manifestations of God. The totality of the Sefirot forms the "Tree of the Sefirot", they correspond to the ten names of the Creator, the actors (persons) The Torah, the five levels of development of the spirit, the five worlds of the removal of divine light from the creations according to the theory of emanation. Collectively, the hierarchy of the Sefirot expresses a philosophical understanding of the connection between the Creator and Creation, and is a variant of the cosmogonic theory of Creation. According to this theory, 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet developed from the last, tenth Sefirot, from which the whole world emerged. Thus, these letters (and their corresponding numbers) are dynamic forces, and all their derivatives are numbers at the same time. The number thus expresses the essence of things. Important is not only the number itself corresponding to a particular word, but also its functions, derivatives, addition, multiplication, addition of numeric values, etc. Thus, when applying various encodings, Torah researchers could obtain new meanings.

Thus, the Sefer code had not only the main legislative significance for the traditional orthodox stratum of Shtetls, the Torah was also a source of scientific and philosophical thought, and its interpretation by the sages, that is, its detailed knowledge and scientific and creative comprehension, was not only not prohibited, but on the contrary, was considered the highest virtue. Traditional education was thus equated with the highest goal the knowledge of God.

One of the main leitmotives of the spiritual life of Eastern European Jews, who perceived their precarious situation, persecution and pogroms in European society as a historical exile "galut", were hopes for Messianic deliverance. The strengthening of Messianic sentiments was associated with the tragic consequences for the Jews of the mid - XVII century . Against this background, a great resonance was caused by the appearance in the second half of the century of the preacher Shabtai Tzvi (1626-1676), who declared himself the Messiah, and then another false messiah Jacob Frank (1726-1791), later anathematized by the VAAD (a "herem" curse was imposed on them) [9]. As is often observed in history, in difficult times for the population, mystical trends in eschatology are intensifying, uncertainty and anxiety about the future generates a large number of myths, mystical interpretations, some of which are based on interpretations of Scripture, especially on the parables of the Homiletic Midrash Talmud, and some are imported from outside.

It is obvious that all these were preludes to the emergence in the 1740s in Podolia of a new religious movement - Hasidism, as opposed to the Orthodox (Misnageds) representatives of official Rabbinism, and had a huge impact on the development of the religious culture of Jews in Eastern Europe. Its founder was Israel Baal Shem Tov (BESHT, 1698-1760) a "kind, kind, miracle worker" who settled in Medzhibozh, which became a place of pilgrimage for his disciples. Hasidism was characterized by democracy, opposed to asceticism and the predominance of religious dogmas, expressed in the accessibility and simplicity of language, prayer and teaching, maximum proximity to nature, emotional and ecstatic experience of prayer dialogue. The doctrine of BESHT attracted a lot of followers the founders of numerous Hasidic courts and dynasties, and together with them began to spread rapidly throughout Eastern Europe [8]. Hasidic prayers are distinguished by their meditative nature and are accompanied by ritual actions: rejoicing, special gestures, dancing. Also, it was Hasidism that introduced into Judaism the role of the tzaddik (righteous man) the leader of the community, teacher, spiritual mentor, to whom, however, unlike the rabbi, the mystical role of mediator between God and the members of the community was attributed. This role was maintained even after the death of the tzaddik, which was manifested in a large-scale pilgrimage to his grave.

Thus, the Sefer code in the Hasidic stratum acquires a mystical, allegorical, emotionally colored shade, in which logical constructs in the interpretations of the Torah coexist with a creative, personal approach, in which the morality of the narrative comes first, and the images and forms of narratives can be the fruit of the imagination of the authors. The same direction can be attributed to the beginnings of agnosticism, in which the Sefer code is the basis not so much for real ideas and facts as a source for artistic exegesis.

Misnageds (literally "opponents") is the definition given by the Hasidim to the rabbinists opposing them. The leading role in the opposition to Hasidism and the formation of a community of Rabbinism in Lithuania belonged to the Vilna Gaon (lit. "greatness, pride", "genius") Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman (1720-1797). The Misnageds denied the all-encompassing mystical role of the tzaddik and, as it was claimed before the advent of Hasidism, put Rabbinic scholarship and, first of all, the study of the Talmud in the first place. Rabbi misnagedov was only a mentor of the community, explaining to its members the meaning of a particular chapter of the Torah or Talmud, but not an intermediary between people and God. Mystical teachings, such as Kabbalah, were studied among adherents of Rabbinism only by individual scientists. The Hasidim and Misnaged Rabbinic traditions also differed: the Hasidim adhered to the prayer order established by Rabbi Yitzchak ben Shlomo Ashkenazi Luria (1534-1572), and in fact, adopted the Sephardic branch of worship, and the Rabbinists retained the Ashkenazi (Jerusalem) liturgical order, edited by the followers of the Vilna Gaon. Consequently, the Sefer code in the misnagedov stratum had a logical coloring, preference in the teachings was given to clear and consistent conclusions devoid of an emotional component.

Karaites (also Bnei mikra, baalei mikra "people of Scripture" (Hebrew)) adherents of the religious branch of Judaism, which arose in the VIII century in Baghdad and consisted in the recognition of the Torah and the denial of the Talmud. There is an opinion about the continuity of the Karaite doctrine from the doctrine of the Qumranites and the contents of the Dead Sea scrolls, but this opinion is not based on some parallels of the teachings and has not been proven reliably.

The founder of Karaism, as a teaching, is considered to be the Jewish theologian Anan ben David (715-795), who lived in Baghdad, hence the original name of the Karaites Ananites. Many of the postulates of Karaism are based on Sadducean sources, designed by Anan ben David. A saying is attributed to him, the essence of which is adherence to the Torah, and not to its interpretations: "Search carefully inTorah and don't rely on my opinion." After the death of Anan ben David, the followers of Karaism were divided into a number of movements united into a single doctrine in the IX century by Benjamin ben Moshe Nahavendi, who first used the term Karaites. Large Karaite communities existed in Egypt, as well as in Spain, from where the center of Karaite culture subsequently moved to Byzantium.

One of the outstanding Byzantine Karaite scholars of the 12th century was Yehuda ben Eliyahu Hadassi, the author of the encyclopedic collection of Karaite theology in Hebrew Eshkol ha-kofer ("The Brush of the Cypress" Hebrew). In the XIII century, the famous Karaite theologian, lawyer, writer and doctor Aaron ben Joseph ha-Rofe (1260-1320) compiled a classic commentary on the Bible Sefer ha-mivhar ("Favorites"). The Karaite codifier, commentator and philosopher who lived in the first half of the XIV century, Aaron ben Eliyahu from Nicomedia, was considered the "Karaite Maimonides". His authorship belongs to the systematic code of Karaite religious legislation Gan Eden ("Garden of Eden"), comments onThe Torah Keter Torah ("Crown of the Torah") and the religious and philosophical essay Etz Chaim ("Tree of Life"), where he opposes the ideas of Muslim theologians to the Aristotelianism of Maimonides [12; 16]. The Sefer code in the Karaite stratum of Crimea was distinguished, on the one hand, by a clear adherence to the letter of the Jewish law set forth in the Torah, which was expressed in strict observance of the rules, and on the other, by the presence in the Karaite culture of features introduced from the Crimean Tatar environment, which concerned both language and everyday traditions, and some rituals and borrowings, having both ancient Turkic and early Christian character. In general, Karaite Judaism has quite significant differences from both Ashkenazi and Sephardic directions of Judaism, despite the one primary source for all Jews the Torah.

Krymchaks. In modern ethnography, Crimeans are called descendants of multilingual rabbinic Jewish communities who settled in Crimea at different times and adopted the ethnolect of the Crimean Tatar language. The Crimean community was formed gradually and consisted of immigrants from different countries and places: from Persia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Western Europe, refugees from Kiev, Sephardic exiles who moved to the Crimea in waves in the XIIIXVIII centuries.

At the end of the XV century. in the Crimea there were Jewish religious communities of Ashkenazim, Sephardim and Romaniots (Byzantines), each of which prayed according to its own canon. These communities owe the unification of all canons into a single branch of Judaism to the famous sage Moshe ben Yaakov from Kiev (Moshe A-Gol "exile" (Hebrew)) (1449ca. 1520), who, after being expelled from Kiev and redeemed by the Solkhat (now Old Crimea) community from captivity, settled in the Crimea, in Kaffa (modern. Feodosiya), where he headed the community, becoming a rabbi, and wrote a single prayer book for all Mahzor Minhag Kafa "Kaffin Liturgy" (Hebrew). Fragments of religious rituals of different communities were included in this prayer book, so it was perceived as "familiar" for representatives of each of them, which contributed to the religious and communal consolidation of the Crimean people. In the XVIII century, the Crimean community of Karasubazar was headed by the famous Talmudist David ben Eliezer Lekhno (d. 1735), who supplemented the prayer book of Makhzor Minhag Kafa with his preface.

A rabbi from Jerusalem, a native of the Sephardic community, Chaim Hizkiyau Medini (1832-1904), who became the chief rabbi of Karasubazar in 1866-1899, played an important role in the enlightenment and development of the religious culture of the Krymchaks. During his time as Rabbi, Medini gained great respect and reverence among all Jewish communities, founded several schools in Karasubazar for the study of Judaism and the Hebrew language, as well as a yeshiva (rabbinical theological school). Under him, the Crimean Tatar religious traditions, previously Ashkenazi, were gradually reformed and brought to Sephardic. Medini's encyclopedic work Sdei Himed "fields of beauty" (Hebrew) contains descriptions of the traditions of the Krymchaks and halakhic rulings structured by the author. The Sefer code among the Krymchaks, thus, was brought to the Sephardic variant, and also, as in the case of the Karaites, there were signs of ancient Turkic mythology in the culture of the Krymchaks, adopted from the Crimean Tatars [16].

In the second half of the XVIII century. among Ashkenazi Jews, in contrast to the medieval way of life regulated by religious norms and the Talmud, along with the development of capitalist relations and the growth of economic ties with Western European countries, new ideas of "Gaskalah" ("Enlightenment") [9] and secular culture began to spread. At the head of this movement was the German educator Moses Mendelssohn, who argued that Jews can participate in the development of universal culture without losing their national and religious identity. In Galicia, one of the first adherents of the new movement was Mendel Levin (Mendel Satanover), who translated the Bible into Yiddish. Subsequently, many writers and publicists began to write in Yiddish (Mendele Moyher-Sforim, Joseph Pearl, Abraham Goldfaden, Sholom Aleichem, etc.), educators sought to open secular schools for Jewish children, under their influence, young people rushed to universities, studied Western European languages, exact and humanities, participated in the social and cultural life of their countries. In the Russian Empire, unlike Germany, Gaskala did not lead to mass assimilation of Jewry, but on the contrary, contributed to the strengthening of national identity. The Sefer code in the stratum of Gaskala adherents significantly expands its boundaries, including secular scientific sources, while at the same time not abandoning spiritual sources. The previously approved super-value of education, thus, was not only not rejected, but on the contrary, enriched by the breadth of horizons.

Haskalah prepared the foundations for the emergence of reformism, a modernist movement in Judaism that simplified religious practice and met with open confrontation between Orthodox and Hasidim. Reformists built their synagogues, which, as a rule, were located far from the old synagogues and the environment of residence of traditional Jewry. This influenced the multipolarity of the Jewish centers of the towns in the second half of the XIX century. The Sefer code in its reformist reading consisted in adapting religious traditions to the new realities associated with the challenges of the coming globalization, with an accelerated pace of life and going beyond the shtetls, which required a new amount of knowledge concerning not only the religious and applied scientific sphere, but also a new understanding of reality, the possibilities of communication with representatives of numerous strata of the globalized societies (ethnic, professional, social, etc.).

The motley world of small towns, which existed for five centuries until the Holocaust, became the keeper of the unique culture of the Jewish people. It covered all spheres of life and gave birth to original and stable types of traditional architecture, folk art, a circle of symbols and plots that reflected the spiritual world of Jews and their connection with local traditions. The concept of "shtetl" has entered scientific and cultural usage relatively recently, since the 1990s. Until that time, it meant the word "town" in Yiddish. Only in the course of its comprehension by the Jewish diaspora, this concept acquired a completely different meaning in its scope. It has become a mythologeme of the lost world of Eastern European Jewry, existing primarily in memory, not in physical space. Through the efforts of modern historiography, this verbal image embodied the ideas of the past destroyed by the Holocaust, beautiful and sad [9].

Having analyzed the modifications of the main Jewish philosophical and ideological cultural code of Sefer from stratum to stratum, we can note the following. The study and cognition of books, that is, education, has always been a priority, the most important occupation of the Jews of the Shtetl, regardless of belonging to one or another social stratum, and was equated with the main Jewish life goal the knowledge of the wisdom of the Almighty. The study of the Torah and its interpretations by sages in traditional societies of Rabbinists (Misnageds) and Hasidim, as well as Karaites and Crimeans, differed in shades of readings, which did not negate the paramount importance of studying books. During the period of Haskalah, and later reform Judaism and globalization, which led to the exit of Jews from the shtetls to the wider world, the Sefer code was supplemented by numerous secular sources, and the goal was education in general, as a whole, both religious and secular (among believers) and exclusively secular (among atheists or agnostics). It can be said that the super-value of education has become not only and not so much a religious idea as a key value sense common to Jewish ethnic groups, resulting from the deciphering of the Sefer code.

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The subject of the research in the article submitted for publication in the journal Urbanistics, as indicated in the title ("Transformation of the Jewish cultural code of Sefer in the social strata of the Shtetl") is the transformation of the cultural code of Sefer in the self-consciousness of the Jewish people (in the object of research), which is symbolically expressed through explication into traditional Jewish philosophy associated with the peculiarity of the Jewish book tradition, categories of social strata of the shtetl (shtetl). The original author's interpretation of historical eventfulness, due to an attempt to observe the harmonious unity of the symbolism of the four basic codes of the Jewish culture of the book tradition with the ethnogenesis of the Jews, reveals, on the one hand, the cultural uniqueness of the selfconsciousness of the Jewish people, and on the other hand, expands the methodological tools of cultural anthropology. This circumstance indicates that, for example, a journal such as Philosophy and Culture may be more consistent with the content of the article, although the issues raised by the author are certainly of interest to readers of such sections of Urban Studies as: "Historical Cultural Studies", "Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology" and "Philosophy urban studies". Although, of course, supporters of traditional methods for the interdisciplinary field of urbanism based on European trends in techno-science, a non-trivial author's approach can provoke misunderstanding. In this regard, the reviewer will try to focus his attention not on the author's methodological errors, which he does not see in the presented work, but on the features of the author's method, which make it possible to classify the material presented for publication as original scientific research. The research methodology, in principle, fits into a set of postmodern techniques accompanying the concept of deconstruction developed by Jacques Derrida (understanding a part of reality by destroying a stereotype of its perception or including a known texture in a new, previously unknown context). Essential for understanding the author's method in this case is the symbolic interpretation of the Holocaust, which is understood not literally in the sense of a set of tragic historical events, but as a watershed of historical time, characterized by an idyllic image of the shtetl (shtetl) and the time after its destruction by a grandiose cultural trauma inflicted by a gloomy ersatz of European culture on all Jewish strata of the shtetl without exception. This leads to the author's understandable protest against the trivial trends of European science and philosophy, his departure into the autochthonous philosophical and symbolic Jewish tradition, which does not exclude the foundation of the basic categories of research through the author's interpretation of the works of authoritative theorists (I. Kant, N. Y. Danilevsky, F. de Saussure, C. Pierce, E. Kassirer, D. S. Likhachev, Y. M. Lotman, U. Eco, etc.). But it is important to understand that the indicated diversity of theoretical approaches is not an eclectic explication, as it looks from a positivist perspective, but a well-founded dialectical synthesis of them, leading to an understanding of the symbolic category of the cultural code. The reviewer also draws attention to the fact that the concept of transformation used by the author should be understood not as an antonym of sequential evolution in linear historical time, but as a result of this evolution, which led to a radical transformation of the image of the shtetl (a limited inhabited ecumene defining the social strata of the Jewish people) into some form of eschatological illusion with indefinite spatial and temporal boundaries. The reviewer also draws attention to the fact that the author's non-trivial philosophical concept of the shtetl, described by symbolic methods of interpreting a set of cultural codes in the Euler diagram, does not represent any empirical value. This is just a kind of meta-code that combines traditional Jewish bookishness with the secularized desire for knowledge that dominates the Euro-Atlantic university education system. The author explains the relevance of the issues raised in the philosophical essay by the acuteness of the currently relevant dilemma: on the one hand, the need to preserve the "idea of culture" against the background of universal globalization, and on the other, by the aggravation of the conflict of the "clash of civilizations", where it is difficult to overestimate the importance of national identity. The reviewer fully shares the author's concern and emphasizes that he is convinced of the possibility of a productive solution to this dilemma exclusively within the framework of peaceful dialogue and mutual enrichment of cultures, tabooing rejection of the otherness of the Other as a fundamental prohibition of building a unique cultural identity to the detriment of any of the other cultures. The scientific novelty of the presented article consists in the author's non-trivial philosophical concept, which reveals the ethnographic facets of reality from the inside, through deep penetration into the unique cultural environment of the basic codes of Jewish culture. The style of the text is scientific. The structure of the article fully corresponds to the author's logic of presenting the research results. The bibliography, taking into account the original author's approach to the interpretation of the empirics of cultural codes, sufficiently reveals the problematic field of research. Although the author made an offensive typo in the initials of N. Y. Danilevsky. An appeal to opponents, again taking into account the non-triviality of the author's approach, should be considered correct and quite appropriate. The article will certainly arouse the interest of the readership of the journal Urbanistics, although it will require certain efforts from the reader to penetrate the original methodology of the author. If we take into account that the editor can correct the offensive bibliographic misprint in the initials of N. Y. Danilevsky himself without prejudice to the author's soap, the reviewer recommends the submitted article for publication.
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