Legal document: ENA NS 17.35

Legal document ENA NS 17.35



Legal document. Partnership agreement. Dating: 1007–55 (speculative). This document records a partnership agreement between Manṣūr b. Yisraʾel ha-Levi and Mas‘ūd b. Mevorakh, who placed 200 gold pieces and 10 gold pieces, respectively, in a common purse. It is unclear whether both parties, or just Mas‘ūd, engaged in active trading, though line 19 and the fact that they were both active in trading suggests an unlimited partnership between them. Profits are to be split equally despite the fact that one of the partners has provided over 95% of the partnership capital, a division that violates the Ḥanafī mufāwaḍa model (see Udovitch 1970, p.48). The full date is not preserved, only the month and the first two digits of the year. The signatures suggest that the document may date from the period of Efrayim b. Shemarya, 1007–55. Signatories: Avraham b. Ghālib, Moshe b. David ha-Levi, ‘Ezrōn b. [?] ha-Kohen, and Ḥusayn Efrayim b. Shemarya. (Information from Lieberman, "A Partnership Culture", 78)

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Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman, "A Partnership Culture: Jewish Economic and Social Life Seen Through the Legal Documents of the Cairo Geniza" (PhD diss., Princeton University, 2007).


  1. Record of testimony which was before us, we the [undersigned …]
  2. day of the month of Marḥeshvan, of the year one thousand and three [hundred …]
  3. according to the count to which we are accustomed in Fusṭāṭ [Egypt, situated on the Nile River …]
  4. m(aster) Manṣūr ha-Levi b. Israel (and) […] said to us […]
  5. … be witnesses on our behalf, and perform a qinyan with [us …]
  6. (using all language of) claims, and give it to the two of us in order that there would be in our hands a title of right [and proof …]
  7. (without) duress, but rather with a full heart and a desirous spirit, and [a correct] op[inion …]
  8. (that we placed) in a purse two hundred good weighed gold pieces […]
  9. gold pieces, and I, Mas‘ūd, have ten gold pieces […]
  10. therein in all that is in my hands as merchandise and all types of goods […]
  11. transact in any item therein in the manner of all merchant[s …]
  12. and in equity, for their right is justice, and from their scales […]
  13. may the Heavens bring them mercy, and may he be able to be strong and succeed and […]
  14. between the two of us equally, neither of us (receiving) more than [his] fell[ow …]
  15. it is also for the two of us, falling into the category of the returns (to capital); and part of the profit thus […]
  16. to his fellow with all the returns to the capital and with his profit, but not with the principal and with […]
  17. our separation takes place, which will take place with the permission and approval of m(aster) M[anṣūr …]
  18. whether there is a loss or a gain, it will be his. I, Manṣūr, will be free (of any further obligation) to him, and the two of us will be …
  19. and all that which the Heavens mercifully bestow, even if it is a found item which comes into our hands, will be for both of us.
  20. This partnership (shutafut) will be for a complete year, from the aforementioned time until the completion of twelve
  21. months, for this is what we have agreed. We have taken upon ourselves the responsibilities of this partnership agreement, as well as upon
  22. our heirs after us, upon the best and choice of (our) acquired possessions and assets which we have acquired and
  23. possessions which we will acquire in the future; possessions which carry responsibility (of replacement in the case of loss) and possessions which do not carry responsibility (of replacement in the case of loss), which are responsibilities
  24. and deposits (which may be used) to repay this partnership (shutafut) agreement, and even from the shirt from our backs, with the force
  25. and weight of all documents of admission and loan, and documents of partnership (shutafut), which the Sages decreed and which are univ[ersally] employed
  26. from this day forward, for this is not like promises and not like formularies. We performed a qinyan with m(aster) Manṣūr
  27. ha-Levi b. Israel and with m(aster) Mas‘ūd b. Mevorakh; and with m(aster) Mas‘ūd b. Mevorakh and with m(aster) Manṣūr
  28. ha-Levi b. Israel, concerning all that which has been written and stipulated above, with an item suitable for doing so. Proper and enduring.
  29. Jacob b. master Joseph (whose) s(oul is at) r(est) Sa‘īd b. Aaron Blessing surrounding the name of Sa‘īd: (unintelligible)
  30. On Friday in a qinyan, the following signed:
  31. Abraham b. Ghālib
  32. Moses ha-Levi b. David Witness
  33. ‘Ezrōn ha-Kohen b. … Hussein Ephraim b. Shemariah

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