Letter: ENA 3754.11

Letter ENA 3754.11



Petition. Dating: Late 16th or early 17th century, as it involves the well-known rabbi and judge Ḥayyim Kapūsī (1540–1631). The petitioner makes accusations against a Jewish man named Saʿd b. al-ʿAyṣī(?) who held the rights to a capitation tax farm (kāna multazim bi-muqāṭaʿat al-jawālī) but who was caught up in some sort of scandal (unkira ʿalayhi min al-amwāl al-muḥarrara ʿalayhi li-jānib al-dīwān) and had to leave Egypt for a long time. He eventually returned and attached himself to the court of Ḥayyim al-Kapūsī. Now, whenever litigants come before the court, he extorts bribes from them and hinders them from bringing cases before the Muslim courts. He infringes on people's rights, especially the poor and anyone who does not pay him enough of a bribe. The addressees are asked to send two witnesses to observe the truth of these claims and then act against the wicked man. The Hebrew script in the margin likely belongs with the accounts on verso; it does not appear to be a filing note. This document is particularly noteworthy, because the most famous hagiographical anecdote about Ḥayyim Kapūsī (also spelled Capoussi or Capousi) is that he miraculously regained his eyesight after being accused of taking bribes, thereby proving his righteousness and silencing his enemies. ASE An image of this document appears with a brief caption in Paul Fenton's article “Interfaith Relations as Reflected in the Genizah Documents,” Bulletin of the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo, vol. 21 (July 1997): 26–29 (this information kindly shared by Emanuel Friedberg).

ENA 3754.11 1



Yusuf Umrethwala and Alan Elbaum, unpublished editions (n.p., 2022).


  1. يقبل الارض بين يدي الموافق العالية اعلاها الله تعالى

  2. وينهي ان ثم رجل يهودي يسمى سعد بن العيصي كان ملتزم بمقاطعة الجوالي سابقاً فانكر عليه

  3. من الاموال المحررة عليه بجانب الديوان وولى هاربا مدة طويلة وبعد ذلك حضر لمصر المحروسة

  4. واحتضر في بيت حاخام اليهود يسمى الحاخام حييم الكپوسي وكلما ياتوا خصمين

  5. ينتظروا تعاطى الاحكام يختص بهم في جانب ثم ياخذ الرشوة من الجانبين

  6. ويعطل الاشغال عن التوجه للمحاكم الشرعية وعجزت الرعاية واصحاب

  7. الحقوق منه ومع ذلك كل من قصر في الرشوة يعين خصمه عليه وان تكلم يقول للخصم

  8. انا نشهد على خصمك بما يليق بنفعك والفقرا تخشى ضرر قلة دينه والمسؤل من

  9. الصدقات الكريمة ارسال شاهدين بغتة للمحل يشاهدوا صحة القول وازالة ضرره ولكم

  10. الاجر والثواب  


ENA 3754.11 2

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