Letter: T-S 20.67

Letter T-S 20.67


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In PGP since 2020


Letter from R. Azarya Zeevi of Jerusalem to R. Yizhaq Castro in Egypt, 1640. Should be read together with AIU VII.D.102—same writer and same addressee. This letter contains a lengthy and convoluted account of the exchanges and transfers of a certain sum of money and how Azarya bested their enemy who had other designs on the money. There is a great wealth of information here about market values of different curencies. People mentioned: הר"י אפמאדו (also mentioned in the other letter, identity unknown, appears to be the same "enemy" alluded to at the beginning); הר״מ זגאן; Yaʿaqov Yaʿish; the writer's father Yisrael Binyamin Zeevi (d. 1688 after an illustrious career in Alexandria and Jerusalem); Zerahya Gota (from Istanbul, a student of Yosef de Trani. In the 1630s he was known as one of the sages of Jerusalem and Hebron. Later he lived in Rashid and then Fustat/Cairo); Yizhaq Baso; Eliyya Ovadya; Shelomo Barukh; Yaʿaqov Levi; Mordekhai Kohen; Azarya b. Vilisad (? וילייסיד), also mentioned in the other letter by Zeevi to Castro, a sage who moved from Istanbul to Jerusalem in the first half of the 17th century. As for the writer and addressee: Azarya Zeevi died after 1652 CE. He is mentioned by David Conforte, who knew him personally, in Qore ha-Dorot. He was the son-in-law of Shemuel Ibn Sid (=Shemuel Sidi?). He was among those taken captive by the Bedouin Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Farukh in 1625/6 (see Horvot Yerushalayim, printed in Venice in 1636). ENA 1846.3–4 is a letter that Azarya Zeevi later received from Avraham Yachini (the Sabbatean?) from Istanbul. Evr. II A 1804, an anonymous letter sent to a certain Moshe, mentions a "R. Azarya." Yiṣḥaq Castro: The son of the better-known R. Yaʿaqov Castro. Conforte wrote about him too in Qore ha-Dorot. He is later mentioned in a legal document in the year 1650/1 CE in BL OR5561.b14. Denominations mentioned: sharifis (=ashrafis from the mid 15th century); arayot (=European coins used in the east, Löwenthaler in German); ibrahimis (=coins minted by Avraham Castro in the first half of the 16th century); gerushim (=sometimes identical with arayot, sometimes identical with reales, apparently); zecchinos (Venetian sequins); and reales (Iberian coins from the 14th century); muayyadis (Ottoman coin named after the Mamluk sultan al-Muayyad Shaykh, current in the 15th and 16th centuries). Information entirely from Avraham David's transcription and footnotes.

T-S 20.67 1r




T-S 20.67 1v

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