Letter: ENA NS 31.5

Letter ENA NS 31.5



Letter, possibly a draft, from a man to his family members Moshe and דאני(?). The relationship is unclear: at one point he addresses "my father" and at another point "my brothers." In Judaeo-Arabic. Dating: Late. The currency שרפי is mentioned in the last line, which is probably the Ottoman sharīfī (first minted 1520 CE) but could also be the Mamlūk ashrafī (first minted 1425 CE). The western Arabic numerals on verso would support a later date. Nearly the entire letter is a moving description of the death of the sender's newborn boy, who did not even live long enough to be circumcised, and the sender's grief for "the noble creature" (khalīqa sharīfa). His heart burns; his eyes are damaged from copious weeping; he has no mind; he cries as he writes this letter. He may also say that he is near death himself. "Every time you wake up a little, and think on the little one, you cry and relapse." He complains about the lack of letters from the addressees. He hopes that Barakāt will stay with him instead of going to them ("if he leaves me, I will go mad"). In the next part, he might remind them to continue sending wheat. On verso there are jottings and accounts in Judaeo-Arabic and what look like western Arabic numerals.

ENA NS 31.5 1




ENA NS 31.5 2

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  • ENA NS 31.5: Images provided by the Jewish Theological Seminary Library (JTSL) CC-Zero / Public Domain