Legal document: IOM D 55.7

Legal document IOM D 55.7



Legal document. Power of attorney. Dated: 1115. Location: Al-Maḥalla. ʿOvadya b. Efrayim ha-Levi Rosh ha-Qahal empowers 'ḥemdat ha-yeshiva' Avraham b. Natan ha-Sheviʿi to money owed to him ("from a partnership and a claim and a rental") on his behalf. ʿOvadya not only states that he has not retained Avraham only "to advance my cause and not to subvert [it]", but also that he will accept whatever the court rules, in stock halachic phrasing. The agent, Avraham b. Natan, is well-known from Geniza documents (Cohen 1980, pp.130-131) identifies him in the circle of the Head Mevorakh b. Saadya, noting that he acted as a mediator in other business affairs. His role in this document seems to have been settling the matter of the partnership, perhaps in court. Two of the witnesses to the power of attorney, Zakkay b. Shelomo and ʿEli b. Shelomo, may have been brothers. Also signed by Yehuda b. Shemuel and validated by Aharon b. Yeshuʿa ha-Rofe and Avraham b. Yeshuʿa. (Information from Lieberman, "A Partnership Culture", 92-93)



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 wa[s given bef]ore us—we, the witnesses who have fixed our hand below on this document.
  2. (Our) t(eacher) and m(aster) Obadiah ha-Levi the honored Elder b. Ephraim ha-Levi the Elder, Head of the Congregation, (who) r(ests in) E(den), came before us
  3. and said to us, “Testify on my behalf and perform a qinyan with me, effective immediately, write and sign using all the appropriate legal formulae and expressions of certainty
  4. and all the language of claims, and give it to (his) honor, (and) gr(eatness) (our) tea(cher) and m(aster) Abraham the esteemed courtier,
  5. Favorite of the Academy, b. our master Nathan the Seventh in the Assembly, (may the) m(emory of the) r(ighteous be) f(or a blessing), in order that he would have in his hand proof and a legal claim from this day forward
  6. that I attest before you, with the most certain expressions of affirmation, being in my good health and freedom of my will, willingly, with neither duress
  7. nor force nor compulsion, with neither negligence nor error, with neither illness nor disease within me, nor any of the like from all the
  8. factors which invalidate testimony. Since I have already given him effective immediately four cubits of land from my portion in the land of Israel
  9. as a gift, proper, eternal, public, complete (a) definitive [pie]ce, proper
  10. and enduring, given and handed [over] to him from this day forward, and up[on it …]
  11. I grant him permission and empower him and liken him (to me) as my agent, in that he will demand from anyone I direct […]
  12. (time) immemorial up till now, from a joint enterprise (mu‘āmala) and a claim and a rental agreement. I have already appointed him effective immediately as […]
  13. and he will receive it for himself, and he will benefit therefrom for himself. Since I have appointed him, that which he receives (will be as) that which I receive, and his payments (will be as) my payments, and […]
  14. (and his hand will be) as my hand, and his words (will be as) my words, and his command (will be as) my command, and his release (from debt will be as) my release. I require […]
  15. one of my counterparties, whatever it be. I have appointed him to pursue its judgment effective immediately in the [cou]rt […]
  16. Anything which he does with one of my counterparties, I have (duly) taken upon myself, effective immediately, and I have not said to him, [“I sent you to fulfill my agency]
  17. and not to misrepresent me.” I have also given him (authority to) announce and swear and take an oath, to compromise and to release, and to receive and […]
  18. and I have also nullified all secret dispositions and conditions which may be made for me and which we have made in connection with this document, as a decree of the Sages, (may their) mem(ory be) for [(a blessing) …]
  19. and all that which is imposed by the court, I accept upon myself effective immediately, whether for my credit or to my detriment. We performed a qinyan with [ (his) honor, gre(atness) …]
  20. (and) hol(iness (our) t(eacher) and m(aster) Obadiah ha-Levi, the Elder, b. Ephraim ha-Levi, Head of the Congregation, (who) r(ests in) E(den), concerning all that which is written and specified
  21. above, with an item suitable for doing so. We wrote and signed this testimony and we gave it to (our) tea(cher) and m(aster)
  22. Abraham the esteemed Courtier, Darling of the Academy, b. our master Nathan the Seventh in the Assembly, (may his) m(emory be) for (a blessing), in order that there would be in his hand
  23. a title of right and proof, proper and clear. This was written on Sunday, the seventeenth day of the month of Tammuz,
  24. may it be transformed to joy, in the year one thousand four hundred and twenty-sixth year (of the Era) of Documents in the town of al-Maḥalla
  25. the great, situated on the River Nile. Enduring and proper and clear.
  26. Zakkai b. Solomon, (may the) m(emory of the) r(ighteous be) f(or a blessing) ‘Alī b. Solomon (who) r(ests in) E(den) Judah b. Samuel […]
  27. This document was confirmed before us in the court, three sitting (together) as one, that they were [its te]xt
  28. and its witnesses inscribed above, and the confirmation from them (is itself confirmed) below, under the signature of the witnesses
  29. thereon: Mr. Zakkai b. Solomon, (may the) m(emory of the) r(ighteous be) f(or a blessing) and ‘Alī b. Solomon (who) r(ests in) E(den) and (our) tea(cher) and m(aster) Judah the Elder b.
  30. Samuel the honored Eld[er] (may his) e(nd be) g(ood), and when these three witnesses came, they showed us that this was
  31. the sig[na]ture [of their hands] with their identifying markings: Zakkai b. Moses (may the) m(emory of the) r(ighteous be) f(or a blessing) and ‘Alī b. Solomon (who) r(ests in) E(den) Judah the Elder b.
  32. Samuel [ Confirming] them and establishing them as is appropriate: Aaron b. Yeshu‘a the Doctor (may the) m(emory of the) r(ighteous be) f(or a blessing)
  33. Abraham b. Yeshu‘a.
  34. …rim (whose) s(oul is at) r(est)