Letter: T-S 12.431

Letter T-S 12.431


Input date

In PGP since 2017


Letter from an unidentified writer to Eliyyahu the Judge. In Judaeo-Arabic. The writer conveys condolences for a death in the family of Eliyyahu (r6–9). He says that the blow is even harder to bear than his own trials with the sick woman (al-ṣaghīra) in his household. The rest of the letter is about this woman. (Motzkin identifies her with Eliyyahu's daughter-in-law Sitt Ghazāl, but he does not explain why.) The writer asks Eliyyahu to obtain a medical consultation with the Rayyis (Avraham Maimonides?) concerning the patient. The writer provides a detailed, albeit cryptic, account of her problems (r15–v1). First she withdrew from mingling with people (inʿazalat ʿan al-khalṭa—unless this refers to a khilṭ/humor) and remained either silent (sākita) or with some altered mental status (sābita). Those around her attributed this to the wakham (bad air/epidemic) and to her pregnancy. But in the fifth month of her pregnancy, she was afflicted with "dullness of mind (balādat khāṭir), irritability (ḍajar), confusion (taḥayyur), and disorientation (taghayyub)." The family members refrained from giving her any medicine to drink on account of the pregnancy. Finally, God had mercy and she gave birth. (Motzkin understood this as a miscarriage, but the letter does not. She could just as well have carried the fetus to term and given birth to a live child.) But, the writer continues, her situation is still unstable, and they anxiously await Eliyyahu's response with the Rayyis's advice. ASE