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Letter from Karaite dignitaries in Jerusalem to Hakhams in Egypt

A letter, from Karaite dignitaries in Jerusalem to Hakhams in Egypt, that was found in the Cairo Genizah and is now kept in the Israeli National Library.

It is from 12th century, but other experts say it is from 14th century.

This letter describes the dispute of two bridegrooms, for one bride. 
One bridegroom claimed that girl was promised to him, while the second one also claimed that this girl was promised to him.
Both bridegrooms were members of the Karaite community of Jerusalem.
The first five lines consist of mainly Biblical verses written in Hebrew.

The authors of the letter then moved to a more common language - Arabic, which was spiced with Hebrew words (חרם, שבועה, הפסד, ברוכים יהיו).

The Karaite dignitaries of Jerusalem asked the Hakhams: Who should marry Rivka bat ha-zākēn ha-nāvōn Shime‘ōn?

The representatives of the community in Jerusalem, without an explanation, had decided that Rivka must marry Avraham. 
However Rivka resisted, saying she wished only to marry Suleiman (
Disappointed, Avraham said: Living God, if she does not marry me, I will kill one of them!

The representatives of the community in Jerusalem hid Rivka in a locked room so as to prevent her from marrying either Avraham or Suleiman.

They were afraid of not only Avraham, but also the Islamic authorities.

The head of the Karaite community in Jerusalem forbade anyone to sanctify marriage, fearing that Avraham would fulfil what he had promised.

Suleiman, who felt that he had been wronged, appealed to the rabbis of the Talmudists to write a ketuba for him. 

Suleiman falsified the signatures of the witnesses on this ketuba, but this forgery was revealed.

The representatives of the Karaite community appealed the Rabbanite community of Jerusalem to find the Rabbi who gotten around the prohibition of Karaite community and provided the ketuba to Suleiman.

This Rabbi was found and punished, forbidding ritual slaughter to him and not allowing him to visit the synagogue.

Suleiman asked the leaders of Karaite community to legalize this marriage and they accepted this request.                 

However Rivka decided not to marry him.

It was for this reason that the Karaite community of Jerusalem asked the Hakhams of Egypt to decide this dispute. 


Translation corrected by Azriel