Letter: Bodl. MS heb. d 66/141

Letter Bodl. MS heb. d 66/141

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Input date

In PGP since 2017

Description

Letter from Ṭoviya b. ʿEli, in a provincial town, to his cousin Natan b. Shelomo ha-Kohen, probably in Fustat. Dating: 1122–50, based on the dated documents of the addressee. The writer sends thanks for the forwarding of a prescription from one physician, Abū l-Bahā', and reminds Natan to obtain a second prescription from another physician, al-Amīn, both for his sick wife. The latter physician was perhaps a Muslim or Christian, since the addressee is asked to transcribe the prescription from Arabic to Hebrew (but cf. T-S 8J16.19 + T-S NS 323.13, in which a Jew is asked not to use Arabic script). "Favor your servant with the answer to be given by my lord al-Amīn, may his reward be doubled. Please transcribe for me the prescription into Hebrew letters.") As requested, Ṭoviya provides an elaborate update on the condition of his sick wife: "She has six attacks (fawra) during the day and four during the night. Perspiration (ʿaraq) overcomes her from the sockets of her eyes (maḥājīr ʿaynayhā) to her chest (fu'ādhā). Owing to the high fever (min ʿuẓm al-nār) she has a feeling that her neck first burns (iḥtaraqat) and then becomes cold (yabrud). At the same time, she suffers pain in her knees (wajaʿ rukab). Owing to her grave sufferings (min ʿuẓm al-alam) her menses (al-ṭamth) have stopped. Finally, because of her great anxiety (min kuthrat al-takarrub), she is affected by mild palpitation (rajīf yasīr) of the heart." The same illness is also described in an earlier letter (T-S 12.234). From a later letter (T-S 13J25.15) we learn that she eventually began to feel better. Information from Mediterranean Society, II, pp. 254, 255; V, p. 106. It is possible that no fever is described, only a sensation of burning (nār). It is also possible that the phrase "knee pain" (wajaʿ rukab) should be read "pelvic pain" (wajaʿ rakab), especially as the next sentence describes the menstrual changes brought on by excessive pain. In the margin, changing the topic, Ṭoviya asks for a loan of the piyyut שיר השירים אסלסל (a liturgical poem for the Seventh of Passover composed by Shemuel b. Hoshaʿna the Third) from 'the rayyis,' sends regards to family members, and reports that the family's situation was very difficult when the tax collector arrived on Purim.

Transcription

S. D. Goitein, unpublished editions.
  • בשמ רח
  • וצלת אלרקעה אלדי אנפדתהא הדרת רבנו ישמרה
  • צור אלדי פיהא אלצפה יסתעלם מנא כיף הי
  • תתפצל תקבל יד הדרת מולאי אלרייס אלאגל
  • אבו אלבהא עני וינעם עלי עבדה באכד א[לג]ואב
  • מן מולאי אלאמין ושכרו כפול ואלצפה תנקל
  • לנא עבראני אלפורה תלחקהא פי אלנהאר סת טר[ק
  • ופי אלליל ד ואלערק ילחקהא מן מחאגיר עיניהא
  • אלי פואדהא ותחס אן רקבתהא קד אחתרקת מן עצם
  • אלנאר וירגע יברד וילחקהא פי אלגטון וגע רכב
  • ומן עצם אלאלם ארתפע ענהא אלטמת ומן
  • כתרה אלתכרב ילחקהא עלי פואדהא רגיף יסיר

right margin, straight lines at 90 degrees to main text

  • ותתפצל תסאל מולאי אלרייס יעירני
  • שיר השירים אסלסל מולאי מכדום

top margin, straight lines at 90 degrees to main text

  • באגל סלאם | וכרימתי | ואבו אלחסן
  • וואלדתה באגל | סלאם ויום פורים | וצל אלינא בעל
  • המס וכאן חאלנא | אצעב מן כל | אלבלאד ואללה
  • יפרג מן ענדה | ושלום ישע יקר[ב

top margin, straight lines at 180 degrees to main text

  • הדרת כגק מרנו ורבנו נתן הכהן משרתה טוביהו
  • החבר המעולה הדיין בר כגק מר הכהן בר עלי
  • ור שלמה הכהן החסיד זל הכהן המעולה זל