מכתב: T-S NS 320.42

מכתב T-S NS 320.42



Letter from Avraham the son of the Gaon to Sahlān b. Avraham. (Identifications by Gil; whereas Goitein says that it is written in the "unmistakable hand" of the Gaon Shelomo b. Yehuda.) Mainly in Arabic script, with some Hebrew mixed in. Dating: ca. 1045 CE. The sender mainly details the honors and appointments that were given out during the month of Tishrei. He refers to the "Av Bet Din" and his brother "ha-Shelishi," who are probably (Gil says "certainly") Yosef and Eliyyahu, the two sons of Shelomo Gaon (hence the estimated date). On verso there is a draft of a piyyuṭ in the handwriting of Sahlān b. Avraham (hence the identification of the addressee). (Information from Gil.) NB: Goitein published this fragment in "New sources on the Palestinian Gaonate," Baron Jubilee Volume (1974), but at the time it was called "T-S NS 320.16." Perhaps the confusion arose because Goitein understood these two fragments to be part of the same document. His index card for this manuscript is also located under that shelfmark. The index card currently attached to this shelfmark must be referring to a different manuscript. It says, "Ṣadaqa b. Moshe ha-Levi buys from Yosef b. Shelomo for 25 dinars Tawfīq (a female slave) whom the latter had originally bought from another Jew for his daughter Sitt al-Ahl."

T-S NS 320.42 1r



משה גיל, (634–1099) ארץ-ישראל בתקופה המוסלמית הראשונהv‎ (in Hebrew) (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1983), vol. 2.


  1. عليها وقوف اﻻجوبه عنها وكتابي هذا يقتضي شرح جميع [ما جر]ى [وهو ان]
  2. قبل راس السنة بيومين وصل اب بيت دين والمغاربه ولما كان في راس السنة لم يكن اذن موﻻي
  3. الريس نزول الكنيسة فلم اوثر لنا كون العبور في داري فاجتمعنا في دار اب بيت دين ولم يحضر
  4. اخوه الشليشي ﻻنه غضبان لبني شويع وحضر معنا الشيخ ابو الخير بن التاهرتي وصلينا عليه
  5. حابير وصلينا على سعيد بن اسرائيل الحزان بعكا حابير وصلينا على يحيى الدمشقي שביעי
  6. ونزلت انا واب بيت دين الكنيسة ووقت السبت اكرزنا حابير صدقة الحازان بسبب احكام
  7. وتقدمت انا תקיעות ووقت שובה درس قق ودرس الشليشي י ימי תשובה
  8. ويوم كفور نزل موﻻي الريس الى الكنيسة وتقدم אב אחרי מות وانا מוסף والحزان מנחה
  9. וא[דו]ננו גאון נעילה واول يوم [אלס]וכה درس אב وسبت עשו דרשת انا ويوم ערבה
  10. درس موﻻي الريس في الجبل وكان الحجاث قليل وكان الحزان قد وصل وانتهرناه وهو على حال ﻻ
  11. يوصف الى ما [ ] قد تكررنا واشهد الجمع على نفسه ان [
  12. بهذه المثيبة ولما [ ] كلام كثير وبعد ذلك بسطنا له وجه واطلعناه [الى]
  13. ספר תורה ويوم ח עצרת صلى אב بيت دين גשם وغد العيد احضرنا الريس [وامرنا]
  14. نداخله الى عند سلمان بن التلميذ رحمه الله ﻻنه كان مثقل في الوجع فاش[هدنا] فاش[هدنا]
  15. ان ليس له شىء وانه فقير وان ورثاه اخوه واخته وتوفي ليلة السبت ويوم السبت
  16. درست انا واليوم قررنا [ ] على ويوم הושענא اكرزنا بن الحازان ויעיש
  17. بن אלרב אלרומי אלדיין בעכא واكرزنا ابو الخير صالح بن معمر يصعد دار الجما[عة]

Recto, right margin

  1. [هذا] ما جرى في ايام العيد وقد علم الله اني ما ودعت ذكره في وسط
  2. ] وع من الحزن [ ] ما ال [ ] الى
  3. ] ويامر ما [


S. D. Goitein, "New Sources on the Palestinian Gaonate," in Salo Wittmayer Baron Jubilee Volume (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974), 503–37.


  1. .... This letter of mine comprises an account of all that happened.
  2. The president of the court and the Maghrebis arrived two days before the New Year. On the New Year my lord,
  3. the head of the yeshiva was not permitted (by his physician) to go down to the synagogue. I did not wish that the ʿIbbur should be made in my house, since we had assembled in the house of the president of the court,
  4. and his brother al-Sahl did not like me because he was a partisan of the Shuway' family. Abu 'l-Khayr, the son of the Taherti, was present with us and we prayed for him as 
  5. "member ( of the yeshiva)." On Saʿīd b. Israʾīl al-Ḥarrāz (probably to be read as Kharraz) we conferred the title ... and on ... Yaḥyā of Damascus the title "Seventh."
  6. On Rosh ha-shanah, I and the president of the court went down to the synagogue, and at the time of the reading of the Torah we repeated publicly that Elḥanan would be expelled because of judgments (illegally given by him?).
  7. I presided over the ceremony of the blowing of the shofar. The president of the court delivered the sermon on Sabbath Shūvā (the Sabbath between New Year and the day of Atonement), and during the ten days of atonement I was constantly in charge of ...
  8. On the Day of Atonement did my lord, the head of the yeshiva, go down to the synagogue. The president of the court conducted the reading of the Torah, I the Musaf service, al-Kharraz - Minhah,
  9. and our lord, the Gaon - Neʿilah. The president preached on the first (?) day of Sukkah ( = Sukkoth) and I on Sabbath ʿAssēr (the Sabbath during the half-holidays).
  10. My lord, the head of the yeshiva, delivered the sermon on the Mount of Olives on the day of 'Arāvā ( = Hoshana Rabba, the seventh day of Sukkoth). Only few pilgrims were present. Meanwhile, Elḥanan had arrived, but we chased him away so that he found himself
  11. in an indescribably humiliating position .... Finally, he testified before the assembly that he ...
  12. to this yeshiva. And when .... Afterwards, we were friendly with him and called him up
  13. to the reading of the Torah. On the 8th of Marheshvan did the president of the court conduct the geshem (prayer for rain during the winter season). On the day after the holidays I was called
  14. in great haste to Salmān, the Son of the Scholar, may God have mercy upon him for he was in a grave state of illness. He testified before us
  15. that he possessed nothing and that he was a poor man and that his brother and sister were his heirs. He died on Friday night. On Sabbath ...
  16. I delivered the sermon and on the Hoshana day we confirmed the son of Elhanan as Fourth.
  17. The son of the Rūmī Rav and ... And we confirmed Abu 'l-Khayr ...

Recto, right margin

  1. (And please excuse me for ... ) and being late in writing, but these were the holidays, and God knows that I did not cease to mention you in (my prayers).

T-S NS 320.42 1v

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