Letter: Bodl. MS heb. c 64/8 + Bodl. MS heb. c 64/9

Letter Bodl. MS heb. c 64/8 + Bodl. MS heb. c 64/9



Letter in Hebrew dated 1766/67 CE (527 = וה(י)כינו את (אשר) יביאו) from the Jewish community of Safed to the Jewish community of Pisa, begging for financial help to the tune of 15,000 gerushim. They recount a fascinating tale of a Jewish man who 'purchased the tax' (=the tax farming rights under the malikane system) from the rulers for 6,000 gerushim. They knew this would turn out badly, but he refused to listen. Later, he was unable to render the full amount demanded by the rulers, so he was clapped in irons, "and died on account of the fright." It seems that now the rulers are demanding that the community itself make up the deficit. There is a somewhat mysterious episode about an evil man who wishes to bring his minions to live in a certain house. The "Italian congregation" of Safed (ק״ק איטאלייאנוס) is mentioned. Their sheliḥim are Yisrael Benveniste and Ḥayyim Mordechai Būnan (their power of attorney is the next shelfmark). Note that the gematriya in fact adds up to 537, corresponding to 1776/77 CE, but one of the yods should probably be ignored, because the power of attorney is clearly dated 527. An earlier cataloguer thought the same (see note on final page). Merits further examination. ASE. MCD.