Letter: BL OR 5542.14

Letter BL OR 5542.14


Input date

In PGP since 1989


Letter from the teacher Abū Saʿīd to al-Shaykh al-Raṣuy, in which he asks in the most humble terms to be paid the fees due to him by the community for children sent to his school. People mentioned include three children of the wife of the Persian (אמראה אלעגמי) who is in the funduq, and Yosef al-Maghribī. (The same sender, there called Saʿīd, wrote T-S NS 324.35 to Avraham Maimonides. AA) NB: Goitein sometimes referred to this fragment as BL OR 5542.23. (See Med Soc II, App. B, doc. 98.)


S. D. Goitein, "Side Lights on Jewish Education from the Cairo Geniza," in Gratz College Anniversary volume (Philadelphia: Gratz College, 1971), 83-110.
  1. אלממלוך אבי סעיד יקבל אלארץ בין ידי אלמולא
  2. אלשיך אלרצוי אללה תעאלי יוסע רזקך ויתבת סעאדתך
  3. ויקים גאהך ויחבס עליך ולדך ולא יקטע בך יא מולאי
  4. לולא יעלם אלממלוך אן ענד אלמולא יראת שמים
  5. ומרוה ונכוה למא תקלת עליך ווחק מא אעתקד
  6. לולא אן תכון אלסכין קד וצלת אלי אלעטאם מא כנת
  7. אתכלם ואלממלוך אליום פי צער הוא יודיע מא
  8. ביגיני אליום חק אלכבז ולדלך אן יגיני פי כל
  9. גמעה ז אלדראהם ונצף ובעץ אלגמע יגיני
  10. אקל מן הדא ואנא אשתהי מן אללה ומן אלחצרה
  11. אן תשמלני ענאיתך פי אגרה אלצביאן אלאיתאם
  12. אלדי ענדי והם תלתה לאמראה אלעגמי אלדי
  13. פי אלפנדק ויוסף אלמגרבי לה ענדי מקדאר
  14. ארבעה אשהר מא דכרתה קט ואלממלוך ישתהי
  15. מן אנעאם אלחצרה פי אן יקרר לי אגרתהם לעל
  16. יחצל לי שי אנפקה פי אלעיד לעל נדוק קטעה
  17. לחם פאן לנא אליום מן עצרת והדה עצרת
  18. אללה אלעאלם מא אש[ת]רית פי הדה אלמדה לחם


  1. באכתר מן תמאן דפוע ואללה אלעאלם מא אשתהי אן אדכר
  2. הדא ולולא אעלם אן אלמולא לא יביח בהדא מא כנת דכרתה


S. D. Goitein, "Side Lights on Jewish Education from the Cairo Geniza," in Gratz College Anniversary volume (Philadelphia: Gratz College, 1971), 83-110.

Your servant Abī Saʾīd kisses the ground before my lord, the elder al Rāṣūy. May God increase your income, stabilize your success and enhance your honored position. May he preserve your boy for you and never forsake you. 

My lord, had I not known that my lord is possessed of the fear of God, generosity, and high principles, I would not have bothered you. And, by my faith, had not the knife reached the bones, I would not have spoken out. 

Your servant is today in dire circumstances. He (God) knows that I hardly earn enough for eating bread; for I earn only 7 ½ dirhems per week, and some weeks even less. I ask now God and your excellency to encompass me with your solicitude with regard to the fees of the orphan boys in my school, three of the wife of the Persian who lives in the caravanserai and Joseph the Maghrebi, for whom already four months are owed without me saying a word. 

I now ask your excellency kindly to give an order to pay me their fees so that I should have something to spend for the holidays. I might perhaps like to taste a piece of meat, for I have not bought meat more than eight times from last Pentecost to this Pentecost. God knows that I would not have mentioned this to my lord, had I not known that my lord does not tolerate such a state of affairs. 

Moreover, some little orphan girls live with me who are deprived of everything one needs in this world — yes, no less than this. Should we not make for them some sort of food for the holiday? 

May my lord not be angry with me. By my religion, I have already said to my lord that I regret to speak out like this, but it was called for by sheer necessity. 

May God let you never be in need but support you with His help. May your wellbeing increase and never decrease and may Heaven give you double reward. 

Your servant wishes to receive an answer without anyone knowing it. And peace.