Letter: T-S Misc.28.171

Letter T-S Misc.28.171



Letter from Yeḥezqel b. Eli ha-Kohen (identification based on comparison with DK 233.2), evidently in Jerusalem, to Abū ʿAlī Ḥasan b. Isḥāq al-Ṣārifī (!), in Fustat. The letter is in Judaeo-Arabic and the address is in Arabic. Dating: second half of the 11th century. Apart from the handwriting comparison, there are at least two other reasons to identify the writer as Yeḥezqel b. Eli: (1) the suftaja (money order) of the rayyis is mentioned in line 17 of this document and line 19 of DK 233.2, and (2) the same bearer is listed underneath the address, ʿUmar b. Yūsuf and his son. Whereas DK 233.2 is dated 21 Adar II, this letter does not bear a date, but mentions a letter from the addressee that arrived on 22 Heshvan. Probably DK 233.2 and T-S Misc.28.171 were not sent together. The writer reports on the epidemic (dever) raging in Jerusalem. The first letter of the word דבר is mostly missing, and it bears the wrong vowel, but the context supports the reading of דבר. It is only Wednesday, and already there have been five funerals this week. The writer mentions children, women, and his paternal uncle "in their number" (the sick? the dead?). He adds, "Many people are ʿalā l-qibla." This phrase does not appear in the Judaeo-Arabic dictionaries. Perhaps it means "praying," or specifically praying in the area of the Temple. The writer touches on various things that he wants the addressee to do for him in Fustat (one of them is reminding the Rayyis Abū l-Ṭayyib about the money order), sends regards to Umm Wahbān, reports that he received the medicine (dawā') sent with ʿAmmār, and reports that he has sent the amulet (? this word looks very much like קמיע but the reading is not certain) of Ibn al-Kohen to the addressee, along with a sealed letter from him. ASE.