Letter: L-G Misc. 34

Letter L-G Misc. 34


Input date

In PGP since 2004


Letter of appeal for charity. A needy man from Qayrawan had applied for assistance from his relative, the esteemed Ifrīqiyyan merchant and scholar, Nahray b. Nissim (active in Fustat, 1060–97 CE). Before turning to Nahray he had already received donations from another prominent Ifrīqiyan merchant, Abū Zikri (Yehuda b. Moshe ibn Sughmār). Nahray had become annoyed. It is not clear whether he was angry because he felt that people might have thought he was neglecting his relative or became peeved for some other reason, such as competition over patronage--or perhaps both (Cohen). In any case, the writer promised henceforth to rely only on Nahray. But since then Nahray has only paid him the insufficient sum of 15 dirhams over the course of eight months. Now the writer is too ashamed to address Abū Zikrī, and he has therefore written this note to a third potential patron to solicit support. (Information from Cohen and Gil and CUDL.)

L-G Misc. 34 1r



S. D. Goitein, unpublished editions.
  1. אהבת צדק ותשנא רשע על כן מ[שחך אלהים
  2. שמן ששון מחבריך ותגזר אמר ויקם לך [ועל דרכיך
  3. נגה אור
  4. שיכי וריסי ומולאי אדאם עזך א[נא] רגל מן אהל אלקירואן
  5. מן אלמערופין באלתגארה וא[. . . .] כתבת אליך הדא(!) אל
  6. רקעה ען צרורה עטימה לאני גית אלי מצר וקצדת
  7. רגל אסמה נהראי ואלרגל קריבי ודמי ולחמי ומן פצלנא
  8. עליה פלי אליום מעה תמאן שהור וכנת קבל דלך כמא(!)
  9. וצל מולאי אלשיך אבו זכרי אחיאה אללה מצית
  10. אליה וסלמת עליה וערפוה קום בחאלי ומא קצר מעי
  11. בגמילה אללה יכאפיה עני באלכ[יר] ויחרס עליה ולדה
  12. פחרד נהראי לדלך כתיר [וסאלני למ]א פעלת דלך פחלפת
  13. לה מן אלאכר ת מן אחד [. . . . . . . .]ני מעך פלם ידפע לי
  14. אלרגל פי טול אלתמאן שהור סוא [כ]מסה עשר דרהמא
  15. פלמא אן ערפת אלמגארבה בדלך שק עליהם דלך פמא
  16. קצרו מעי פאסתחית אן נכאטב אלשיך אבו זכרי סלמה
  17. אללה פכתבת הדא(!) אלרקעה למולאי אלשיך נחב מן
  18. אללה ומנה אן יתפצל עלי עבדה וצניעתה אן יעמל מעי
  19. מא הו אהל לה ושלום אדני יגדל לעד:


Mark Cohen, The Voice of the Poor in the Middle Ages (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2005).


"You love righteousness and hate wickedness; rightly [has God, your God, chosen to] a[noint you] with oil of gladness over all your peers" (Psalm 45:8). "And decree and it will be fulfilled, and light will shine [upon your affairs]" (Job 22:28). 


My elder, the head, my master, may He (God) perpetuate your honor. I am from Qayrawan, one of the merchants. I am writing you this petition out of dire necessity. I came to Fustat and turned to a man called Nahray, who is my relative, my flesh and blood, and whom I respect. I have been with him now for eight months. Before that, when my master the elder Abū Zikrī, may God grant him long life, arrived, I went to him and greeted him. Some people told him about my situation, and he was not stingy with charitable gifts for me, may God requite him with go[o]d on my behalf and watch over his son. Nahray became very annoyed over this and [asked me, "W]hy did you do this?" So I swore to him that not take anythin[g] from anyone [...] with you. Now, during the entire eight months the man gave me only [f]ifteen dirhems. When I told the Maghrebis about this they were troubled and were not stingy with me. I am embarrassed about speaking to the elder Abū Zikrī, may God protect him from harm, so 1 am writing this petition to my master the elder asking from God and you to favor your slave and protégé by doing for me what you can. And may the welfare of my master increase forever. 


L-G Misc. 34 1v

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