Legal document: T-S 28.17

Legal document T-S 28.17



Legal document. Court proceedings. Yaʿqūb b. Yūsuf claims that Da’ūd and Ṣedaqa, sons of Ṣemaḥ b. Da’ūd al-Raqqī, have withheld profits from a partnership in a store. The brothers were also involved in long distance trading on behalf of the partnership. Yaʿqūb himself seems to have contributed the sum total of the partnership capital, amounting to four thousand dinars, which yielded a one time payment of ten dinars to Yaʿqūb and a single dinar each week, of which Yaʿqūb would receive half and the brothers the other half. Yaʿqūb also received 30 dinars each month to satisfy a debt on the store. After working as partners for a month, Yaʿqūb produces witnesses who notarize a detailed description of responsibilities for the partners (presumably the partners previously had an informal yet specific agreement). The document validates the testimony of Da’ūd and Ṣedaqa that their profits were scanty. Unlike in many other documents, the brothers are called to swear concerning the outcome of their long-distance trading. Their testimony does not preclude the possibility that Ya‘qūb will pursue further legal action against the brothers, but simply confirms that the profits represented the sum total of profits of the partnership. The identity and role of the character “Bishr”, mentioned in line 24, is unclear. It may refer to one of the witnesses, Mubashir b. Fahīd. (Information from Lieberman, "A Partnership Culture," 163)

T-S 28.17 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. In (Your) na(me,) O Mer(ciful One.)
  2. The witnesses whose names are specified in this report testified that
  3. Ya‘qūb b. Joseph and Dā’ūd and Ṣedaqa, sons of Ṣemaḥ b. Dā’ūd al-Raqqī personally …
  4. and their names and their family-names; Ya‘qūb b. Joseph brought them on Monday on the eighth
  5. of the month of Ramaḍān, that they would record and testify to all that which proceeded between him and between Dā’ūd and Ṣedaqa
  6. these brothers, the sons of Ṣemaḥ, as a partnership (shirka) between them, for a dispute broke out between them,
  7. and when these brothers, Dā’ūd and Ṣemaḥ, appeared at the appearance of witnesses, this Ya‘qūb
  8. b. Joseph began and said to them, “Know that I have not called you today to these (people) to a court judgment
  9. but rather I have called you to testify. So testify to that which proceeded between us in terms of oral statements
  10. and admissions, and record that for us, from the oral statements that we are acting deliberately and intentionally
  11. in accordance with the first (thing) that Ya‘qūb said to these two brothers, Dā’ūd and Ṣedaqa, ‘I will swear
  12. before you, by God, great and mighty, and by His Torah, and by all Israel, concerning all
  13. your questions, if you correctly report that which God, great and mighty, knows, with neither falsehood nor
  14. concealment nor fear nor bias, since it would not help you with me, for I am not lost to
  15. your judgment after today.’” Then the oath was repeated for them … then he returned
  16. and the brothers responded together, saying, “Yes, we accept the oath upon ourselves. We
  17. are only speaking the truth and the facts which God, great and mighty, knows.” Then he (Ya‘qūb) said, “Was it not
  18. before your (re)payment of that which I paid to the merchants, which I found with you!” The two of them said,
  19. “Yes.” Then he said to them, “Did you have the profit, (my) dear, to which I am entitled, because
  20. I am concerned.” They said, “No, we don’t have anything of yours, (my) dear.” But indeed I found (something)
  21. for myself (therein). Then I pressed upon Ṣedaqa, the younger brother, and said to him, “Before
  22. your brother’s arrival, when you came from the road and you presented your alibi, did I take
  23. something from you or (even) demand from you something or (even) a promise, (my) dear?” Ṣedaqa said, “No.” “Then, by God, testify
  24. about him concerning all that he said.” Then he said to Bishr, “When you showed up, something (that is, a business arrangement) proceeded between you and me
  25. as we mentioned.” And he responded, saying, “As God is my witness, I never heard from you even on a single day—
  26. not before, not after—concerning this situation.” //And he said, “No.”// Then he said to both the brothers, “Are you not
  27. with … I sold the merchandise with which I was involved, ‘eating of the (Paschal sacrifice)’?”
  28. … for it, a final sale, not completing the total, and I spent the funds upon myself in […]
  29. … since … he did not … me the way of …spent for the business. I assigned
  30. such (and such) your business, and I did not wish to take any of the merchandise upon myself.” The two of them said, “Yes,” acknowledging
  31. before you all that which I said. Then he said to them, “Have I not opened the store for you, by the eye
  32. of great and mighty God?” I said to you, “I owe you nothing further. Ask me for my maintenance, but beyond that,
  33. I will not use my high position for any sort of help that you that you might need.” You said,
  34. “We don’t have (the money for the re-)payment, nor (can) we complete anything without your sitting (and working) with us.” And indeed, you harassed me
  35. until I granted your wish and sat with you as a partner, such that I (would receive) half of (what) we (received), may God give us success, and the two of you (would receive)
  36. the (other) half.” Then he said to them, “After a month elapsed, did I not see that your situation was good, (yet)
  37. I was not compensated. So I gathered before you all the Elders and we wrote a detailed description between us. We testified
  38. to all the stipulations which were in that description. And indeed, that (very) night you invalidated it with your statement—
  39. you, O Ṣedaqa! If you did not want the produce and the keys, then I will work in (times of) trouble and pestilience
  40. for myself (and not for the partnership)—though I wanted you to have the keys and the produce.’” And the two of them said, “Yes.” Then he said to them,
  41. “Concerning what I did during whole period in terms of buying and selling—does it go into the
  42. big and small scale, or do I receive food as payment or a measure of produce to be taken to the money-changer, or also
  43. … or an error happened between us and between the money-changer and a business agent and an agent in the payment or a fraction of it.
  44. The two of them said, “No.” Then he said, “Concerning that which we purchased and sold from the first day (of the partnership), did we sell comething
  45. at a loss?” He said, “No—rather, we did so for a profit.” Then he said to them, “Did I take some of the profit from the store
  46. other than ten dina(rs) in addition to whatever was established in the detailed description—which was (itself) a (single) din(ar)? They took it each
  47. Friday and divided it—half for me and half for you—for a period of 15 months.” And he said, “Further,
  48. other than that which I mentioned—that is the ten din(ars) and a half—the rest of the profit of the store is for you
  49. each Friday.” Then he said to them, “Tell me that there is a going concern in the store with what I paid—four thousand din(ars)!
  50. How can one not suggest that there will be an equivalent amount of profit! I would like the rest of the profit, and that
  51. which I claimed from you (in) this joint enterprise (mu‘āmala) for safekeeping.’” The two of them responded and said, “O assembly of
  52. Elders, a store from which thirty din(ars) comes every month for our debts, may he claim profits
  53. more than this amount therefrom since he is this Ya‘qūb?” The witnesses present said, “Record concerning them and preserve (this)
  54. testimony, with all the decisions in //that which// I examined them. Testify to me therein in your presence, and record
  55. the testimony. When he demanded the testimony from us, we testified and gave it to him as a valid proof from today onward.
  56. Mubashir b. Fahīd (who) r(ests in) E(den) Maṣliaḥ b. Zechariah (whose) s(oul is at) r(est).

Blessing around Mubashir’s name: (unintelligible)

T-S 28.17 1v

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