Literary text: T-S NS J21

Literary text T-S NS J21

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Liturgical poem (piyyūṭ) by the Andalusī Jewish poet Yiṣḥaq b. Ghiyāt (1038–89), copied by Avraham Ibn Yijū on the back of a letter sent to him in India by Khalaf b. Yiṣḥaq in Aden. The piyyuṭ is a reshut for nishmat, a type of poem that the cantor would recite before the beginning of the main service on shabbat and yom tov. (“Today, and for the life of the duration of Your world,/The breath of every living being shall bless Your name.”) Goitein speculates that one of the India traders had Ibn Ghiyāt's dīwān with him and that Ibn Yijū copied this poem for use in leading communal prayer. In addition to this reshut, he also copied an ōfān for Sukkot by the Andalusī Yehuda ha-Levi. If he copied it before 1141, it would have been while the poet was still alive — a remarkable distance for his poetry to travel in his own lifetime; but Ibn Yijū also writes of having met in Aden Sulaymān Ibn Gabbay, Yehuda ha-Levi's travel companion (rafīq) during his eastward voyage to Egypt from al-Andalus in 1140, so perhaps Ibn Yijū saw his dīwān only then and disseminated it from Aden eastward. He also copied a maʿariv for Yom Kippur and composed his own liturgical poetry, including two seliḥot that he wrote in the margins and on the verso of a deed of manumission, as well as secular poetry. (Information from Goitein and Friedman, India Traders, 67–68)

T-S NS J21 1r

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