Letter: T-S 24.60

Letter T-S 24.60



Letter from Yosef b. Yaʿaqov b. ʿEli ha-Bavli Rosh ha-Seder to his brothers ʿEli and Yiṣḥaq. Mainly in Judaeo-Arabic. Dated: 1476 Seleucid, which is 1164/65 CE. The sender gives his name in several short lines at the top of the leaf, followed by a quotation from Psalms 121:2. Identification of the sender was made by Amir Ashur and Mordechai Akiva Friedman, who add that he signs with his motto/ʿalāma (the same as that of Shemuʾel b. ʿEli, whose disciple he was): הא̇ לא̇ למו̇ (Psalms 68:21). In the letter, Yosef reports that he has sent the requested book in his handwriting. As for what one of them said about his mother missing him, he misses her even more. The next part is the upbringing and education of Yiṣḥaq (evidently the younger brother). ʿEli had complained about how Yiṣḥaq constantly disobeys him. Yosef gives an instruction that may be about corporal punishment and which involves the word "al-muqallib." Then: "You must exert authority over him (tusalṭin bih) and remind him of what the Torah says, 'Honor thy father and thy mother....' As for what you said about him cursing you—his teacher!—I cannot believe that about him." He then cites a couple more biblical verses and tells ʿEli to try to forgive Yiṣḥaq. As for Sameaḥ(?) al-Qaṭṭān and his reneging on a (legal?) agreement and not giving the addressee anything—the addressee must go to him and demand an explanation. The sender is pained that the addressee has not told him what he and Abū l-Barakāt have been reading, nor about his livelihood, nor about "how much gold you have gathered for me." Yosef mentions a letter he received from their father and how he responded to both the addressee's and the father's letter in a single letter. He then rebukes the addressee for his bad handwriting (kawn khaṭṭik manḥūs) and how he botched the 5 quires (apparently homework) that he copied. He must do it again, and also also supervise Yiṣḥaq in this task. Yosef gives further instructions about the Torah portions that they must copy. There follow numerous greetings, including for: Abū l-Faraj al-Baghdādī, Moshe Rosh ha-Qahal, Yosef's mother, ʿEzra the judge, and Binyamin ha-Ḥaver. There is a postscript written with a different pen expressing happiness at the news that Yiṣḥaq recovered from his illness. The letter keeps going on verso with additional greetings. As for the instructions Yosef received to purchase a niqāb and large miqnaʿa (scarf or veil) for his mother in Erbil (ארבל)—it is too late, he has already left Erbil. ASE

T-S 24.60 1r




T-S 24.60 1v

Image Permissions Statement
  • T-S 24.60: Provided by Cambridge University Library. Zooming image © Cambridge University Library, All rights reserved. This image may be used in accord with fair use and fair dealing provisions, including teaching and research. If you wish to reproduce it within publications or on the public web, please contact genizah@lib.cam.ac.uk.