Paraliterary text: ENA 4011.76

Paraliterary text ENA 4011.76

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Sermon in Judaeo-Arabic based on a narrative of real events. Dated: shortly after Kislev 1460 Seleucid, which is 1148 CE. The writer may be Mevorakh b. Natan (or may be named Zakkay, as written between lines 1 and 2 of recto). On recto he writes "this is a drash (sermon) that I recorded/composed while in mourning for my son Moshe. I heard this on Friday, 13 Kislev 1460..." There are further details here about the date and the day of the week (he notes in the margin that it is a good sign to die on erev shabbat) and the Torah portion that coincided with the shiva in both Fustat and al-Maḥalla (parashat Vayishlaḥ). The sermon begins on verso. "One Friday, 13 Kislev 1460, I was sitting in al-Maḥalla copying books as is my custom, with the boys studying Torah before me. I heard them talking about an ugly business. I said to them, 'What's this that you're talking about?' They said, "Just what we heard." I said, "Who did you hear it from, and on what authority?" They said, "from the family of the cantor" ['bayt' can also mean wife, but here it is marked as a mixed/masculine plural]. I said, "And where did the family of the cantor hear it from?" They said, 'From their relative Maʿānī in Fustat." I sent for Maʿānī, and as God knows, I was present but absent, estranged, alone, and lonely due to the remnants of an illness and [due to being] surrounded by enemies who await my public downfall..."

ENA 4011.76 1

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Transcription

ENA 4011.76 2

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  • ENA 4011.76: Images provided by the Jewish Theological Seminary Library (JTSL) CC-Zero / Public Domain