Letter: ENA 2744.2Letter ENA 2744.2
Input dateIn PGP since 2017
Letter from Ṣadoq (b. Shemuel or b. Yehuda) Ibn al-ʿAmmānī, in Alexandria, to Moshe b. Ḥalfon ha-Kohen Ibn Ghulayb ʿAyn ha-ʿEda Paqid ha-Soḥarim etc., in Fustat. In Judaeo-Arabic. Dated: 11 Sivan, 159 = 4800 + 159 = 4959 AM, which is 1199 CE. The first part of the letter conveys the information that the "rebels" (המורדין) in the congregation of Alexandria have drawn up and signed a decree (taqqana) stating that they will never accept a muqaddam who is not a native of Egypt. They plan to send the decree to Maimonides ("Rabbenu") and ask him to appoint either the judge Yiṣḥaq b. Sasson or the judge Shemuel ha-Levi b. Seʿadya. The congregation offers a hefty initial payment of 50 dinars. (This decree may well be the same one mentioned in T-S 18J3.15, a letter from Barakāt b. Abū l-Ḥasan to Eliyyahu the Judge ca. 1221 CE upon the death of R. Anatoli.) The second part of the letter conveys Ẓadoq's request for Moshe ha-Kohen to intercede with Maimonides so that the new muqaddam will not deprive Ẓadoq of his profession of wirāqa (i.e., his appointment as a warrāq, a copyist and notary of legal deeds). Ẓadoq wants the present arrangment to continue: half of the wirāqa jobs for Ẓadoq and half for the muqaddam. Ẓadoq complains about his difficult financial straits and that he has to sustain two "households," i.e., his two wives. If Ẓadoq loses his income from wirāqa, he will have no choice but to abandon his family and move to Byzantium. In the end, Maimonides did not heed the taqqana of the community, and instead he appointed. R. Anaṭoli b. Yosef of Marseilles as the muqaddam of Alexandria. Ẓadoq's request, however, was accepted. We hear again of the division of the wirāqa between Ẓadoq and Anaṭoli in the year 1216 CE in the document T-S 10J25.3. Information from M. A. Friedman's article on this and related documents.