Letter: CUL Or.1080 J276

Letter CUL Or.1080 J276



Letter from Isḥaq b. ʿImrān, probably in al-Maḥalla, to the parnas Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Yahya, in Fustat. In Judaeo-Arabic with the address in Arabic script. The letter concerns Efrayim, a poor man from al-Maḥalla, whose wife did not wish to live in the Rīf and traveled to Fustat on her own without his permission. The sender had previously received instructions from the addressee about this case. The man is poor and cannot afford to live in Fustat, but offers her the option to live in Damietta. (Information in part from Goitein’s index card)

CUL Or.1080 J276 1r




Oded Zinger, "Women, Gender and Law: Marital Disputes According to Documents of the Cairo Geniza" (PhD diss., n.p., 2014).


  1. In (Your) name, O Merci(ful)

  2. The letter of my lord has arrived, may God prolong your life and make lasting your honor, 

  3. strength, health, and favor. I understood (your letter). Regarding what you mentioned 

  4. in the matter of Ephraim: I sent for him and he came to me. I showed him 

  5. the letter of my lord, may God guard you. I saw that he desires 

  6. his wife and the reason for his neglecting her is only because she left 

  7. him and went up to Fustat against his command. (This was) after 

  8. she and he sought judgment in al-Maḥalla from Mr. 

  9. Joseph [ha-ḥave]r, may the R(ock) pr(eserve him). It became affirmed to him (i.e. to Joseph) that she transgressed 

  10. [....] When she saw that the ruling would be against her, she went up 

  11. to Fustat against his (i.e. her husband's) command. Also, he did not have [...]. 

  12. He is a poor man. He is not able 

  13. to reside in Fustat. If she comes to him, he will have nothing 

  14. dearer than her. If she does not desire to live in the Delta (rīf), he will put her up 

  15. [in] Damietta. If she desires him, she should tell him 

  16. to send her a messenger who would bring her to him 

  17. according to where she chooses that he put her up. For he cannot 

  18. leave the t[ow]n [becau]se of the government's tax collector and cannot leave. If she chooses him (also possible: it) he will have nothing dearer than her. If she does not want him (also possible: it), let her inform him so he will send her bill of divorce to her. This will be her choice and not his. I send you the utmost greetings of peace.


CUL Or.1080 J276 1v


Verso, address written in Arabic script (except al-Kohen)

My lord, the elder, Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī [al-]Kohen b. Yaḥyā al-firnās, may God prolong his life and make lasting his honor, strength, happiness and humble his enemies. 

He who is grateful for his favor, Isḥāq b. ʿImrān.


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