Legal document: Bodl. MS heb. a 3/7

Legal document Bodl. MS heb. a 3/7



Legal document. Record of release. In the hand of Ḥalfon b. Menashshe. Location: Fustat. Dated: 1125 CE. This document describes release from a partnership in glasswork, explaining that Shemarya ha-Kohen (also known as Abū al-Wafā b. Menashshe ha-Kohen) demanded 9 and 1/6 dinars of his erstwhile partners Yiṣḥaq b. Yehuda and Yiṣḥaq's son Abū al-Karam. Yiṣḥaq gave Shemarya a settlement, andShemariah released him and his son from the partnership. The settlement of the partnership is effected through arbitration (“bederekh peshara”) by a number of “Elders of equity and propriety”. Per Goitein, Jewish courts of the Geniza period generally first sought settlements outside the court. Court decisions themselves not only required the attention of a higher court, such decisions also required an oath (a troublesome process for the court and the community). But a settlement through arbitration did not even require a qinyan. The judges in this case, Avraham b. Shemaʿya and Yiṣḥaq b. Shemuel ha-Sefaradi, are the two “permanent judges” of Fusṭāṭ of the period. (Information from Lieberman, "A Partnership Culture", 12-14)

Bodl. MS heb. a 3/7 7 recto

7 recto



Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman, "A Partnership Culture" (PhD diss., n.p., 2007).


  1. These proceedings took place before us—[we, the undersigned … as well as those who  signed]  
  2. with us below. Thus: [Mr. Shemariah ha-Kohen]  
  3. known as Abū al-Wafā [b. Manasseh ha-Kohen …]  
  4. Nāqid and demanded of the Elder Abū al-Munā (our) tea(cher) and m(aster) Isaac [the  Elder b. (our) tea(cher) and m(aster) Judah]  
  5. the Elder, al-Dimashqī (who) r(ests in) E(den,) nine dinars and a sixth stating t[hat he  ...]  
  6. his son Abū al-Karam by way of a partnership (shirka) in manufacture of g[lass …]  
  7. his in al-Naḥḥāsīn, for the sale of copper, and the Elder A[bū al-Wafā] asked us […]  
  8. and we have separated […]  
  9. that to this Elder Abū al-Munā, and he responded to the oath and stat[ed …]  
  10. Elders of equity and propriety by way of settlement. And they attested that [the Elder]  this [A]bū al-Munā would p[ay] to this Abū al-Wafā
  11. ha-Kohen in din[ars …] in a single (payment), and he absolved him of [… all that  which he he claim]ed therein,  
  12. and he absolved his son Abū al-Karam […] and others and from all 
  13. claims and demands and from all that which could be defined whatsoever. And the  two of them have separated completely.  
  14. Each of them is satisfied with what the Elders have established concerning this. This  Elder Abū al-Munā brought  
  15. the dina(rs) which the compromise required of him, and he gave it to Nahrāy the son of  Abū al-Wafā for the matter of  
  16. his father. It came to him completely and totally. Then he said to us, “Testify  concerning me—I,  
  17. Shemariah ha-Kohen, known as Abū al-Wafā b. Manasseh ha-Kohen (who) r(ests in)  E(den). Perform a kinyan with me as of now,  
  18. write and sign on my behalf, using all the appropriate legal formulae and expressions of  certainty  
  19. and using all the language of claims, and give it to the Elder, this Abū al-Munā (our)  tea(cher) and m(aster) Isaac //the Elder//  
  20. b. (our) tea(cher) and m(aster) Judah the Elder al-Dimashqī (who) r(ests in) E(den), in  order that there would be in his hand from this day forward proof and a legal claim  
  21. that I attest before you using the most certain and perfect expressions of affirmation, in  my good health  
  22. and freedom of will, willingly, with neither duress nor force nor compulsion, with  neither negligence nor error, nor  
  23. defect of illness within me, nor anything of the like from all the factors which nullify  testimony, that I have absolved him  
  24. from now, and I have absolved his son Abū al-Karam and all who have recourse to the  two of them, from the partnership (shirka) concerning which I am currently suing,  
  25. in which the two of them are obligated, as well as any connection which I could direct  against the two of them concerning the capital or concerning the profit,  
  26. (nor a claim of) deception, nor a claim that he trusted him, nor any of the like from all  the claims and demands  
  27. and from all the connections and responsibilities which could be directed towards each  of the two of them together  
  28. or as individuals, or upon their heirs after them. And (they are released) from everything  which proceeded between me and between the two of them  
  29. in this aforementioned partnership (shirka) and in (partnerships) other than this, from all  which proceeded between me and between the two of them  
  30. in all types of financial transactions (mu‘āmalāt) of different sorts and types, from the  beginning of  
  31. time until now, from all that which could be defined whatsoever, and from all the oaths  concerning  
  32. anything therein, grave and simple, and rider oaths and even herem setam;   
  33.  a complete, total, effective, terminating, certain release, severing all other claims  
  34.  and demands, a release through receipt and acceptance, an irreversible release, with no  stipulation  
  35.  weakening it and no argument nullifying it, a release from me in my lifetime and from  my heirs after me, all of the/m,/  
  36.  in his life and to his heirs after him, with the most certain and perfect expressions of  release, and as a decree of  
  37.  the Sages, since nothing remains for either of them with me—neither a claim nor a  demand, nor any connection, and I have  
  38.  obligated myself before the two of them to fulfill the release, upon me and upon my  heirs after me, with the most certain [guarantees]  
  39. of delivery. And I wrote this document for the two of them that it would be in their  hand and in the hand of theirs after them  
  40.  upon me and upon my heirs after me, well-ordered, proper and enduring and durable,  according to which they will be successful in any court  
  41.  of justice, not like formularies or like prototypes of documents, rather as the most  certain and most perfect  
  42.  of that which was outlined by our Sages (may their) m(emory be) f(or a blessing), in the  like. I have [also] nullified [all] secret dispositions and conditions which may be made  
  43.  for me and which we have made concerning this document, as a decree of the Sages.  
  44. And we performed a qinyan with Mr. Shemariah ha-Kohen, known as  
  45. this Abū al-Wafā b. al-Nāqid b. Manasseh ha-Kohen (who) r(ests in) E(den) to the Elder  Abū al-Munā, (our) tea(cher) and m(aster) Isaac  
  46. the Elder b. Judah the Elder (who) r(ests in) E(den) and to his son, this Abū al-Karam,  with an item suitable for doing so,  
  47. concerning all that is written and stipulated above. We wrote and signed (this  document) and gave it to this Elder //Abū// [al-Munā]  
  48. in order that there would be in his hand a title of right and proof. That was in the (first)  ten-day period of the month of Marḥeshvan of the year 1437 
  49. (of the Era) of Documents, in Fusṭāṭ Egypt, situated on the Nile River. Proper and clear  and enduring.  
  50. Abraham b. master Shemaiah the Ḥaver h(e shall) l(ive a) h(appy life,) a(nd his children  shall) i(nherit the) l(and), great-grandson of Shemaiah Gaon (who) r(ests in) E(den)  
  51. Isaac b. Samuel the Sefardi (may he) m(erit) l(ife in) the n(ext) w(orld)  Blessing above and below Isaac’s name: (I) s(eek refuge) in (You, O) L(ord;) m(ay I)  n(ever be) d(isappointed;) a(s You are) r(ighteous,) r(escue me.)

Bodl. MS heb. a 3/7 7 verso

7 verso
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