Legal document: ENA 2808.15a

Legal document ENA 2808.15a



A legal query, possibly addressed to R. Yiṣḥaq ha-Sefaradi (per Goitein, Palestinian Jewry, 309–11), concerning an adopted woman who fled her marriage to a foster brother and was driven out of her house by her foster siblings. The back-story is that the mother of three girls and two boys took a captive girl into her house on the view that raising her was a thawāb (miṣva). After 4–5 years, when she matured, one of the foster-mother's boys wished to marry her. After four (months?), the former captive returned to the house of her foster-mother and declared that she wouldn't stay with him. Dating: Goitein dates this document to the Crusader period, but see Goldman, "Arabic-Speaking Jews in Crusader Syria," p. 37: "Many undated Geniza documents have been ascribed to the period of the Crusades simply because they relate to warfare, ransoming, refugees, and/or massacres." (some data added by AA)


S. D. Goitein, Palestinian Jewry in Early Islamic and Crusader Times‎ (in Hebrew) (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben Zvi Publications, 1980).


  1. בש
  2. אלדי נסאל חצרה רבינו הרב המובהק אדאם אללה עזהא
  3. ותבת איאמהא תפתינא פי מא ילזם פי הדה אלנובה ודאך
  4. אן וצלו מנד זמאן נסא שבויים וכאן פיהם צבאיאת צגאר
  5. פאכדת מנהם אמראה צבייה צגירה תרביהא ללתואב וענד תלך אלאמראה
  6. ג בנאת איצא אבכאר וולדין רגאל עזאב פרבאת אלצבייה
  7. ואקאמ]ת ע[נד]הא מדה ה סנין או ארבעה אלי אן בלגת פכטבהא
  8. אחד מן ולדין] אלאמראה פשאורו אלדיאן שצ פי זיגתהא פקאל
  9. יגוז פזוגוהא ואד]כלו מעהא אלדי סאהלה אללה עלי זוגהא
  10. גיר אן בעד זיג]תהא לם תקים מע אלרגל אכתר מן ד
  11. שהור תם ר]געת אלי דאר אלאמראה אלדי אתרבת
  12. ענדהא ]תהא וקאלת מא אקים מע אלרגל סאעה
  13. ואחדה וכאן אלשיוך ואלדי]אן שצ ראגעין להא כל וקת והי תקול
  14. לא אקים מעה ]וכתרו עליהא וכלמוהא באנואע
  15. אלכלאם וקאלת מא אקים מע אל]רגל ולו אפרג עלי ראסי אלמאל
  16. אלבאלג תם אכר]גוהא אולאד אלמרה מן ענדהם
  17. ]ולם תפעל אלא אנהא מ[
  18. ]סעד [


S. D. Goitein, "Tyre-Tripoli-'Arqa: Geniza Documents from the Beginning of the Crusader Period," Jewish Quarterly Review 66, no. 2 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1975), 69–88.


  1. In (Your) N(ame).

  2. This is what we ask your excellency, our master, the prominent Rav, may God make your exalted position permanent

  3. and your leadership solid. Please let us have your legal opinion about what has to be done in the following matter.

  4. A long time ago, female captives, among them little girls, arrived here.

  5. A woman took a little girl into her house in order to bring her up, doing this as a pious work. That woman had

  6. three virgin girls and two boys, grown up bachelors. She brought the girl up,

  7. who stayed with her five or four years until she came of age.

  8. [One of the two boys] of that woman asked for her hand. They consulted the local judge, (may) G(od) k(eep him), whether this marriage was permissible. He said:

  9. "It is." They arranged the marriage and gave her as outfit whatever God had blessed them with.

  10. [However, after the marria]ge she did not stay with her husband longer than four

  11. [weeks and re]turned to the house of the woman, in which she had been brought up.

  12. [...] and said: I shall not stay with this man one single hour

  13. [The elders and the jud]ge, (may) G(od) k(eep him) urged her all the time to reconsider the matter, but she said:

  14. [...]. They exercised on her all kinds of pressure and talked to her in different

  15. [ways, but she said: "I shall not stay with this] man even if he pours gold over my head." 

  16. [...]. Then the woman's children drove her out of the house.

  17. [...] she did not agree, but [...].