Letter: Moss. VII,159.1

Letter Moss. VII,159.1



Letter from a retired old Alexandrian merchant to a friend in Fustat. One side is a letter in Arabic script and the other side is a letter in Judaeo-Arabic. The same scribe wrote both letters, as the Judaeo-Arabic includes a salām in Arabic script that is identical to the salāms on the other side. Both letters deal with a request to intervene with the Nagid and ask him to draw up a certificate (waraqa, nuskha) of indigence so that the sender can get support from the Jewish community of his hometown. Refers to someone named Abū Saʿīd who retired from his store about 2.5 years ago, still owing money. He was declared a pauper, and that matter was resolved. But he is still being sought for the capitation tax for his grandson. Someone (Abū Saʿīd? the son? the grandson?) has been absent from Alexandria for 12 years. It is not sufficient for the Nagid to certify that Abū Saʿīd is poor; the Nagid is also supposed to write a few lines explaining the circumstances. Perhaps in this way he will obtain relief ("since I might be regarded as an absentee (ghāʾib)"). (Information in part from Goitein's attached notes; see those notes for further information, references, and a draft translation.) The handwriting may be that of Ṭahor b. Avraham (first half of the 13th century. ASE.