Legal document: T-S 24.20

Legal document T-S 24.20


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Legal document. Record of release. Written in the hand of Ḥalfon b. Menashshe. Location: Fustat. Dated: Adar I, 1426 Seleucid. One of two copies of a signed and executed mutual release of the partners Abū l-Karam Nadiv b. Saʿadya ha-Levi and Abū l-Surūr Peraḥya b. Benyamin from their long distance trading partnership. Both partners traveled to Yemen and traded in fabrics and and manufactured commodities. The partners use a number of terms to describe their complicated partnership relationships: khulṭa, shirka, and muḍāraba (commenda). There were also outside investors in their partnership, suggesting that Nadiv and Peraḥya were joint active partners employing this outside capital (as such the other partners are not mentioned in the release). The details of their relationship had been specified in a detailed agreement (kalimnā) which may or may not have been oral [NB: the document actually says "kull minnā," "each of us," which is not a reference to a prior detailed agreement]; this document represents only the termination of their joint relationship. Each party had to settle his account with his outside investors independently, in contrast to the corporate model seen elsewhere. (Information in part from Lieberman, "A Partnership Culture," 152)

T-S 24.20 1r




Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman, "A Partnership Culture: Jewish Economic and Social Life Seen Through the Legal Documents of the Cairo Geniza" (PhD diss., Princeton University, 2007).


  1. Testimony which took place before us—we, the undersigned. Thus: the Elder Abū al-Karam (our) tea(cher) and m(aster) Nadiv ha-Levi b. (our) tea(cher) and m(aster)
  2. Saadiah ha-Levi (who) r(ests in) E(den), and the Elder Abū al-Surūr (our) tea(cher) and m(aster) Peraḥya b. (our) tea(cher) and m(aster) Benjamin the Elder (who) r(ests in) E(den) came before us, and the two of them said to us, “There was a joint investment (khulṭa) and a partnership (shirka)
  3. and a commenda between us, with our assets and with the assets of others, at the time of our journey to Yemen, and when it came time to divide up all our documents, and
  4. nothing remained for either one of us with his fellow, whether from what pertained specifically to our oral agreement or from that which had been in our hands from others, nor any claim, nor any responsibility
  5. to which one could ascribe significance. Each of us has absolved the other of all claims and demands, and from all obligations, and the
  6. responsibilities for which each of us could turn to his fellow, in all that proceeded between us, from all types of financial transactions (mu‘āmalāt) of
  7. varying types, and of that which was in our hand which was ours and which belonged to others, and of all that with which we transacted together for the group and for individuals
  8. from the beginning of time until now—a total, complete absolution. We asked that the release documents to be written in duplicate, in order that each of us would have in his hand
  9. a title of right and proof before his fellow. Thus, testify concerning us—me, Nadiv ha-Levi, and me, Peraḥya, and perform a qinyan with us effective immediately, write and sign
  10. concerning us using all the appropriate legal formulae and the expressions of certainty and all the language of claims, and giv[e that to each of us,] in order that there would be in the hand of each
  11. of us before his fellow effective immediately proof [and a legal claim that w]e attest before you, using the most certain expressions of affirmation, in our good health
  12. and freedom of (our) will, willingly, with neither duress nor force nor compulsion, with neither negligence nor error, nor any defect of illness within us nor any other
  13. of all (the factors) which nullify testimony, that each of us has absolved his fellow effective immediately from all our joint investment (khulṭatna) in the case of our travelling
  14. to Yemen, and our return to Fusṭāṭ, and from all that which was in our hand (belonging to) others and from all claims and demands
  15. and all obligations and responsibilities for which each of us could turn to his fellow, in all that proceeded between us, from of all types of
  16. financial transactions (mu‘āmalāt) of varying types, in the journey and the return (therefrom), and transactions, and partnership (shirka) and commenda and joint investment (khulṭa)
  17. and all to which one could ascribe significance, from the beginning of time until now—a total, complete, effective,
  18. terminating, certain release, terminating all claims and demands, a release upon receipt and acceptance, a release irreversible thereafter,
  19. without any argument nullifying it or interpretation weakening it, a release from us—I, Nadiv ha-Levi, and I, Peraḥya, in our lives and from our heirs
  20. after our deaths, from each of us to his fellow from every generation and individual and from any judgment and matter and from any (matter) which may be called “financial”, and from (the claim of) overreaching
  21. and grievance (claims), within the earthly jurisdiction and within the Heavenly jurisdiction, and from all claims and challenges, both clear claims and possible claims,
  22. and from every claim or contract or curse or ban or sanction or oath or pronouncement, general or specific, and from the determination of any
  23. court, whether from Jewish law or from gentile law, since nothing remains for either of us with his fellow, neither in his possession,
  24. nor on his behalf, nor in his control, (no) claim from among all claims, nor any item of any sort—neither a dirham nor a dinar,
  25. neither gold nor silver, neither smithed [nor ra]w, neither silk nor copper nor tin nor lead, neither merchandise
  26. nor an item of trade, neither a partnership (shirka) nor a [commenda…………..] nor porcelain nor Amidī cloth nor something painted nor made of khalanj-wood nor a Baghdadī (textile),
  27. neither wood nor glass nor crystal, nor tightly-wound (fabric), neither cotton nor wool nor linen, neither woven (fabric) nor hatchelled (fabric), nor
  28. spun (fabric), nor textiles—neither for … for men nor for women, nor […] , nor dyed, neither that which was spread out (as carpet)
  29. nor as textiles, nor […] of any type of fabric, neither …, nor a loan transacted orally
  30. neither an account nor a remainder of an account nor an error in an account, neither a loan nor an account receivable, [nor] luggage, nor furniture, nor
  31. material, neither capital nor a remainder, neither profit nor loss, neither a bill of exchange nor a surety, neither a consignment nor a deposit for us
  32. nor … deposited dina(rs) with us, nor a deposit which someone else placed with us, nor anything to which one could ascribe weight,
  33. (whether) dry (weight) or unit (weight), nor that to which one could ascribe significance, nor anything else which one could possess and utilize
  34. under the Heavens, whether small or gr[eat, magnificent] or lowly, from the value of a farthing or more, neither a judgment nor a debt nor
  35. a dispute or account nor an admission nor controversy [nor ac]quittal nor complaint nor quarrel nor a claim nor a challenge nor
  36. an oath nor a rider oath nor a pronouncement, even ḥerem setam. (Each of them) is free from all types of oaths,
  37. and behold, (they are) completely free and completely released, both with oral testament and in (our) heart(s), in this world and in the world to come. Each of us has released
  38. his partner effective immediately from any negligence or error, any misappropriation or theft, from any omission or settlement which proceeded between us from the beginning of time
  39. until now, both that of which we are aware and that of which we are unaware, that which we have discovered and that which we have not discovered, being what it is and reaching
  40. what it has reached. We have written this document in duplicate, in order that it would be in the hand of [each of u]s before his fellow, well-ordered and proper and enduring
  41. and durable, according to which they will be successful in their plea before any court of justice forever, not like formularies or like prototypes of documents, but rather as the most certain
  42. and perfect of that which was outlined by our Sages, (may their) m(emory be) f(or a blessing), concerning documents of release. That which he has obtained or his heirs after him may have obtained in this
  43. release will be upon each of us and upon his heirs after him, this shall be their settlement and their establishment. The establishment of this release
  44. is in their hands, and [they] are obligated in every provision and loss in which they are obligated therein. Documents in any script or language which would exclude
  45. something or invalidate this document are hereby nullified effective immediately before you, and considered as a potsherd (thrown) in the marketplace
  46. which is without substance. No court which would rely upon it (as a legal source) may rule from them. We have also nullified all secret dispositions and cond[itions]
  47. and secret dispositions concerning secret dispositions, and secret dispositions that may develop from secret dispositions forevermore, which may be made for us and which we have made in connection with
  48. this [re]lease document, as a decree of the Sages. We performed a qinyan with (our) tea(cher) and m(aster), this Nadiv ha-Levi, and with (our) tea(cher) and m(aster), this Peraḥya, each of them
  49. to his fellow, with an item suitable for doing so, concerning all that which was written and specified above. We wrote this testimony
  50. and signed two copies and gave (one copy) to each of them, that he would have in his hand a title of right and proof. That (took place) in Fusṭāṭ
  51. Egypt in the middle ten-day period of Adar I of the year 1426 (of the Era) of Documents. Proper and enduring.
  52. 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)
  53. Joseph ha-Kohen b. Mevorakh ha-Kohen (who) r(ests in) E(den)     Japheth b. Hillel
  54. Manasseh the Ḥazzan b. Saadiah (whose) s(oul is at) r(est)

T-S 24.20 1v

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