Legal document: T-S 16.35

Legal document T-S 16.35



Court record of a legal agreement between a husband, Abū l-Ḥasan Shelomo b. Menashshe, and his wife, Sitt al-Nasab bt. Abū l-Munā, in which he undertakes to settle her in her own domicile. Before marrying, they had agreed to live apart from his female relatives should she request it. After their marriage, they tried living with his family, but arguments broke out, and Sitt al-Nasab invoked her right to live separately. But Abū l-Ḥasan found himself broken-hearted on separation from his female relatives, so the couple now agreed to live under the same roof as his family again, but (1) to give Sitt al-Nasab a separate apartment in the house, (2) that Abū l-Ḥasan’s mother and sisters would not be allowed to enter it, (3) that they are forbidden from requesting as much as a matchstick from Sitt al-Nasab. The details of this new agreement were negotiated between Abū l-Ḥasan and Sitt al-Nasab’s paternal uncle, Abū ʿAlī. Dated: Kislev 1430 Seleucid, which is 1119 CE. Location: Fusṭāṭ. In the hand of the prolific court clerk Ḥalfon b. Menashshe (no relation). Signed by Avraham b. Shemaʿya and ʿOvadya ha-Kohen b. Mevorakh. The same couple also appear in T-S 13J2.20, dated 1445/1134.

T-S 16.35 1r




David Marmer, "Patrilocal Residence and Jewish Court Documents in Medieval Cairo," Judaism and Islam: boundaries, communication, and interaction: Essays in Honor of William M. Brinner (n.p., 2000), 67 - 82.


  1. Testimony that took place before us, we the undersigned, as follows: when the Creator, exalted be His invocation

  2. and sanctified be His names, provided the occasion of the union between the shaykh Abū al-Ḥasan, (his) h(onor) g(reatness) h(oliness), (our) ma(ster) and t(eacher) Solomon

  3. ha-Kohen the precious, the scholar, son of (our) ma(ster) and t(eacher) Menasse ha-Kohen, (may he) r(est in) E(den), and his wife Sitt al-Nasab, daughter of

  4. the shaykh Abū al-Munā, (his) h(onor) g(reatness) h(oliness), (our) ma(ster) and t(eacher) Isaac the honored elder, (may his) e(nd be) g(ood), (Solomon) took upon himself (the obligation) regarding her

  5. at the time of the marriage that if she hated living with his sisters and his mother, he would be obligated to move her

  6. (6 -7) and provide her housing in a detached place to her{self}, away from them. And when it was some months after the marriage, words passed between her and his sisters. She therefore requested relocation and separation 

  8.  from them, according to what he had obligated himself to her in that regard. And he took it upon himself as an obligation, and necessity compelled him 

  9. (9 - 10) to move her into a place by herself. He remained broken hearted, and the rent was too much for him, and (the situation) was difficult. He remained like that for a very short period of time, and wanted his wife to return to

  11. the original place, in which his mother and sisters lived, because there were two apartments, 1 one of them on

  12. the road and the other in the interior And Solomon sa]id to her, "I accept whatever you obligate me to in 

  13. this regard." Her paternal uncle, (the shaykh) Abū ʿAlī the trustee, addressed (him), saying, "I do not want to hurt you,

  14. nor separate you from your sisters, but I also do not want to harm my niece. She is content

  15. to return to living with you in that (original) place, and live with your sisters, as long as they and your mother will be

  16. in the house that is on the street, and she will be in the interior apartment,  separated off by herself in seclusion.

  17. Not one of them shall have access to her, nor demand anything of her,

  18. nor take from her a matchstick, for example. The place of your wife will be detached from them,

  19. (19 -20) and she will have the ability to act freely in her home without their presence, in (the preparation of) her food and in her expenditures, and in whatever else she needs without interacting with them in anything. And each one of the

  21. two parties shall be free to act without restriction in its abode as it wishes. And as for your wife, if she again complains

  22. (22 - 23) about one of them, you would be obligated to move them away from her, away from the place, and not leave them with her for one moment. And if at any time you refuse to move them and take them away from her, away from the place,

  24. after her complaint [to you], or if she complains in this matter, with proof, of your intent to keep them with you in the place,

  25. then part of the condition that we impose upon you now will have been broken, (and) you would be obligated (to pay) fifty dinars

  26. to the poor in Fusṭāṭ, may God relieve them with excessive wealth, which you will undertake from your possessions."

  27. And he accepted all of that upon himself, and consented to it, and obligated himself to it and to the fine mentioned for the poor

  28. on account of it. And we made him testify to it upon himself, and to his acceptance of all of it of his own volition and choice,

  29. without compulsion or coercion or force or negligence or by mistake, or due to illness from a disease, nor other

  30. such things that invalidate testimony. And we performed a qinyan with him on behalf of his wife Sitt al-Nasab regarding

  31. all of it, a complete and stringent qinyan, with an implement suitable for doing so, (valid) from now on, nullifying any secret dispositions

  32. or conditions, not like promises nor like formularies. And upon this condition she returned to the place,

  33. (33 -34) insofar as it would be a secluded place, separated from her away from them. That which took place before us, we the undersigned wrote, signed, and delivered (it) to this Sitt al-Nasab, to be in her possession as a title of rights and as proof.

  35. And that took place in the last ten days of the month of Kislev, of the year 1430

  36. of our customary counting in Fusṭāṭ, Egypt, situated on the Nile river, (a document) strong, firm, and valid.

  37. Abraham ben Shemaʿya he-haver, (may he) r(est in) E(den, (his) s(oul) (will) I(ive) (a) h(appy life and his) s(eed will) inherit the) l(and), descendant of Shemaʿya the Gaon, (may he) r(est in) E(den).

  38. ʿObadiah ha-Kohen, son of Mevorakh, (may he) r(est in) E(den)


T-S 16.35 1v

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