State document: Halper 354

State document Halper 354



Testimony in Arabic script probably meant to accompany an investiture petition from the gaʾon Shelomo b. Yehuda to the newly appointed caliph al-Mustanṣir billāh, listing the prerogatives the gaʾon has enjoyed for the past eleven years of his tenure. If this interpretation is correct, the document dates to 1036 CE. Goitein writes that the script and style are identical with those of T-S NS 320.45, and also that Halper 354 "is the most important Geniza document found thus far illustrating the official position of the Jerusalem Gaonate within the Muslim state."

Halper 354 p. 2

p. 2


Moshe Gil, Palestine During the First Muslim Period (634–1099)‎ (in Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1983), vol. 2.


  1. [ بعد ما التمسوا]جميعا وفرادا
  2. [ ان يشهدوا هذه الشهاده قال كل]منهم من كتب شهادته بخطه
  3. [ فى اخر هذا الكتاب ان ا]لذى عرفوه وعقلوه ويشهدوا
  4. [ به فى معنى تقدمه] الطائفة المعروفة باليهود الربانين
  5. [ ووضعوا خطـ]ـهم فيه ان جميع قضايا احكامهم على تواصل
  6. [ اﻻزمنه و]نكاحاتهم وطلاقاهم وارداع المفرط فى شي من موجب
  7. [ دينهم واﻻمر بالمعروف] والمنع عن المنكر فيهم وابعاد الجانى بالحرم وحله من الحرم
  8. [ وافتاء الفتاوى ودر]س النوبة ونصب الحزانين فى الكنايس المصلين
  9. [ بهم والذباحين فى] اﻻسواق المتولين الذبيحه وعزل من يستحق عزله
  10. [ ونصب اﻻ]حبار والحكام والديانين وترتيب منازلهم بحسب
  11. [ فرانستهم وسير امنايهم جميع ذلك راجع الى المقدم على جميع
  12. [ اليهود فى كل ] عصر وزمان الذى وقع عليه رضا كافتهم بل وهو
  13. [ الريس الذى] منزلته مسما براس المثيبة وقلده فى ثبوته ويعلمو
  14. [ ان ليس لليهو]د الربانين مخالفة وﻻ معارضة فيما يراه ويفعله
  15. [ وفيما يتقـ] ـول منه وان له ان يستخلف فى كل بلدة او اقليم من يستند
  16. [...به فى اعدا]ده النصر فى كل [م]طلب [ي]طلب [


S. D. Goitein, "New Sources on the Palestinian Gaonate," in Salo Wittmayer Baron Jubilee Volume (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974), 503–37.
  1. (Having been requested,) we, all together and each separately, 

  2. (to deliver this testimony,) namely all those writing their witness and signing 

  3. at the end of this document, say) that what they know and understand and are able to testify 

  4. (with regard of the leadership of) the community known as the Rabbanite Jews, 

  5. (and which they testify herewith) is that all the judgments in their lawsuits in the course 

  6. (of the years and all matters of marr)iage and divorce, and the curbing of anyone remiss in the keeping 

  7. (of their religion and "the encouragement to act properly) and the prohibition of acting improperly,"the removal of the evildoer by ban and the lifting of the ban, 

  8. (the issuing of responsa and the public ex)pounding of the Scriptures, the appointment of cantors for the synagogues to lead 

  9. (their congregations in prayer, and of shohets) in charge of the ritual killing, and the dismissal of anyone deserving it, 

  10. (the appointment of "members" of the yesh)iva, of judges,and of dayyanim and the defining of their competence according to 

  11. (..., and the supervision of the acts of the parna)sim and the conduct of the "trustees" - all this is within the competence of the head of all 

  12. (the Rabbanite Jews in every) period and time, on whose leadership the entire community is agreed, namely 

  13. (the dignitary whose) office is called "Head of the Yeshiva" and whose son is his.... And the undersigned also know 

  14. (that the Rabbanite) Jews are not permitted to disapprove of, or to object to his decisions or actions 

  15. (or any order [?] emanating) from him. He also has the right to delegate his authority in any town or country to any one reliable 

  16. (who will provide) him with any help he might request from him. 


Halper 354 p. 1

p. 1
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