Letter: T-S Ar.3.4

Letter T-S Ar.3.4


Input date

In PGP since 2020


Interesting letter from a sick man to Mevorakh, probably his brother. The language is Judaeo-Arabic with Hebrew vowels (!). The writer revised the letter, probably after completing it, and added in several missing alifs. He has an unspecified illness. He is lying sick in the house of Baqā' b. al-Muṣinn (at least in the daytime), also attended by Ibn al-ʿAṣṣār. "From inactivity (qillat al-qawām) my state has weakened (talif ḥālī). I am now accustomed to bloodletting and purging (sakb al-dam wa-l-ishāl)." He describes his nights and days twice. Ibn al-Muṣinn is also in distress because his little boy is also sick. [The physician] Ibn al-ʿAṣṣār was summoned and asked whether the patient would live or die and said to him something cryptic ('You are either (illam) going to survive or (illam) completely recover' (?)). Upon which, Baqā' said to him, 'For the sake of deliverance, do exactly as he says.' People (nās) concerned themselves (ihtammū) and kindly brought the patient everything he needed (itfaḍḍalū bi-kull mā aḥtāj). In the nights he has rosebuds (? al-zirr al-ward) but these only last him for one third of the night (?), and thus he also needs sugar (?). Purpose of writing: Requesting sugar, and a blanket "from the kitchen." He had previously written regarding the sugar. It resembles a letter of appeal except that it is quite informal, probably disrespectful if the recipient were not his actual brother. The writer states that he has already tried drawing money from other sources so as not to be a burden. Writes once, "you ask me what afflicts me," and then again, "Do not neglect me so as not to [later] ask what afflicts me." Date: Probably early 13th century. Abū l-Baqā' b. al-Muṣinn ("son of the stinkard") appears also in T-S NS J32, but this document is undated. A Kohen b. al-Muṣinn appears in a 1237 document (T-S 12.413), and the daughter of al-Muṣinn appears in a 1243 document (T-S 8J6.15), but these are not necessarily related. Most compellingly: a physician named Ibn al-ʿAṣṣār appears in a 1227 document (T-S 8J32.7). ASE.