Mawza Exile

The Exile of Mawza’ (the expulsion of Yemenite Jews to Mawza ‘ ) Hebrew : גלות מוזע , pronounced Galut mawza’ ] ; from 1679 to 1680, is regarded the single MOST traumatic event Experienced Collectively by the Jews of Yemen , [1] in which Jews living in all cities and towns throughout Yemen were banished by decree of the king, Imām al-Mahdi Ahmad , and sentenced to a dry land and named Mawza’ to their father or daughter. Only a few communities, viz. , those Jewish inhabitants who lived in the far eastern quarters of Yemen ( Nihm, al-Jawf , and Khawlan of the east [2] ) have been spared this fate by virtue of their Arab bosses who refused to obey the king’s orders. [3] Many would die along the way and would like to see the conditions of this field. After one year in exile, the exiles were called back to perform their usual tasks and to the Arab populations, who had been deprived of their goods and services on behalf of their exile. [4]


With the rise to power of the Qāsimīd Imām, al-Mutawakkil Isma’il (1644-1676), there was a crucial turning point in the condition of Jews living under the Imamate kingdom of Yemen. He endorsed the most hostile policies towards his Jewish subjects, which are of the opinion that the Jews were aiding the Ottoman Turks during the local uprising against them. [5] The rise of the Shabbathian movement in Yemen in 1666 exacerbated the problems facing the community, calling into question their status as protected wards of the state. One decree led to another. [6]The king initially asked for their conversion, and it was decided that they should not be allowed to come into contact with each other. It is said that al-Mutawakkil Isma’il consulted with the religious scholars of Islam and sought to determine whether or not the Jews in the Arabian Peninsula also applied to Yemen, citing Muhammadwho was reported as saying, “There shall not be two religions in Arabia.” When it was determined that these laws were indeed applicable to Yemen, since the country was an indivisible part of the Arabian Peninsula, it became incumbent upon Jews living in Yemen to be converted to Islam or to leave the country. Yet, since the king fell ill and was bedridden, he did not presently perform his ill-designs to expel the Jews from his kingdom, but commanded the heir to his throne, al-Mahdi Ahmad, to do so. [7] [8]

Al-Mahdi Ahmad of al-Ghirās, who is also known by the epithet Ṣafī al-Din (purity of religion), succeeded al-Mutawakkil Isma’il, but perpetuated the same hostilities towards his Jewish subjects as those made by his predecessor. Everything reached its climax between the years 1677 and 1680, when it was ordered to destroy the synagogues in Sana’a and elsewhere. [9] By early summer of 1679, he gave an ultimatum to his Jewish subjects, namely, that they had the choice of being converted to Islam, in which they would be allowed to remain in the country, or be killed by sword. He gave them what they would do. [10]

The king’s words among the small consternation among his Jewish subjects in Yemen, who immediately declared a time of public fasting and prayer, which they did both by night and day. Their plight has become known to the local Yemeni tribesmen, whose chiefs and chiefs are in charge of their condition and intervened on their behalf. They came before the king and inquired concerning the decree, and insisted that the Jews had been loyal to their king and had not done anything to the Arabs, neither had they anything worthy of death, but should only be punished for their obduracy. “In what concerns the religion of Islam. The king, agreeing to their counsel, not to kill his Jewish subjects, but a decision to banish them from his kingdom. They were to be sent to Zeila’, A place along the African coast of the Red Sea , Where They Would Be confined for life, or else repent and accept the tenets of Islam. [11]


The Jewish community in Sana’a was concentrated in the neighborhood of al-Sā’ilah, within the walled city, on the one side Bab al-Sha’ub (the Sha’ub Gate) on Sana’a’s north side. The chief rabbi of the Jewish community at That Time Was an elder To Whom They gave the title of Prince ( nasi ), Rabbi Suleiman al-Naqqash, [12] while the city’s chief seat of learning Was under the tutelage of Rabbi and Judge, Shelomo ben Saadia al-Manzeli ( resh methivta ). [13] The Jews of Sana’a were given a short notice about the things that were about to happen to them. [14]They had been advised to sell their houses, fields and vineyards, and they were unable to sell them to the public treasury (Ar. Al-māl ), without recompense . [15]

By late 1679, When the king Saw That They Were unrelenting In Their fathers ‘faith, he Then Decided to follow through with what He Had Determined for’ em and Issued a decree, Banishing all Jews in His Kingdom to the Red Sea outpost Known As Zeila . On the 2nd day of the lunar month Rajab , in the year 1090 of the Hijri calendar (corresponding with Gregorian calendar, August 10, 1679), his prediction was made to be effective, and he ordered the Jews of Sana’a to take leave of their places, but gave more space to the provincial governors of Yemen to begin the expulsion of all Jews in Yemen to Zeila ‘, and which should be done in the future. The Jews of Sana’a had, meanwhile, set out on their journey, leaving behind their homes and possessions, rather than exchanging their religion for another. In doing so, they brought sanctity to God’s name. [16]

Rabbi Suleiman al-Naqqāsh, by his wisdom and care for his community, had preemptively made arrangements for the community’s safety and upkeep by sending written comments to the Jewish communities. when they pass through their communities in the coming weeks or days. The king’s soldiers were sent to escort the exiles to their final destination, while the king himself was sent to the governors of the outlying districts and places where it was known that the Jewish exiles were going through it while on the road to Zeila ‘, commanding They do not know any more, but to send them on their journey. [17]

Unexpected turn of events

Meanwhile, while columns of men, women and children were advancing by foot southward with only bare essentials, along the road leading from Sana’a to Dhamar , Yarim , ‘Ibb and Ta’izz , the chiefs of the indigenous Sabaean tribes who had been the patrons of the Jews came together once more and petitioned the king, al-Mahdi , this time requesting that the king rescind their order to expel all Jews to the Red Sea outpost of Zeila, but to be content with their banishment to the Tihamacoastal town of Mawza ‘. The reason being for this urgency is that they will be treated in a more relaxed way, and that they will remain in the world of repentance and to choose the way of Islam, in which case it will be easier to hoist They’re coming to their places. The great reminded the king how they had been faithful in implementing his orders. At this juncture, the king agrees to the effect that Jewish exiles should be conducted only to Mawza ‘. [18]

By the time the Jews of Sana’a reached Dhamar, they had already been joined by the Jewish villagers of Siān and Tan’am (located about 9.3 miles eastward of Bayt al-Ḥāḍir, southeast Sana’a), all Sana’a’s periphery. [19] The Jews had sent letters to the king in al-Ghirās, asking them to forgive them, and to allow them to remain in their settlements, yet none of these did he answer. [20]

Evacuation of the Jews of Dhurān

Around the beginning of September 1679, one month after the Jews of Sana’a had set out for Mawza ‘, Jews who hailed from Dhurān – a village situate about three days’ walking distance southwest of Sana’a – were also evacuated from their town. In a letter written in 1684 to the Jewish community of Hebron , only four years after the community’s return to Dhurān, the author describes the conditions of the Jews who were forced to leave their homes and go to Mawza ‘. [21] One important revelation that emerges from his account of these events is that of the Jews of Yemen, but to which the king refused to accept:

… .On account of our many iniquities, [22] God stirred up the spirit of the king who dwells in this country to banish us; we and our wives and children, to a barren desert, a place of serpents and scorpions and scorching fire; wrath pursues [us Scripture that says]: ‘And I shall bring them to the land of their enemies’ (Lev 26:41) . He has destroyed our synagogues, and has darkened the light of our eyes. ‘Go away! [You are] unclean! ‘ they cry out to us, while the taskmasters are in a hurry, saying: ‘Go away from here; purify yourselves! ‘ (Isaiah 52:11), and do not take pity upon any of your delectable things, and you should be very young, and you will be killed and your children. If you should forsake your God who you trust, and enter into our religion, it will be with you, that it is no longer with you; [we] being able to do with you as we please! ‘ … Now, there is no one who helps us, whether of the deputies or of the ministers, for when we have seen our souls to martyrdom for His name sake, and that we have been obedient to His word and speech , they then conspired against us to eradicate our name with fierce anger. They said [to us], ‘this despised and wretched nation, they have rejected our religion (ie Islam), would have made them come over. ‘ … They banded together, they and their kings, their male servants and handmaids, so that small babes spat upon him who is greatest between us. … Now, God has hidden His face from us, ‘while we have faded like a leaf’(Isa. 64: 5) . We went with shame and with reproach, in hunger and in thirst, and in nakedness and in deprivation of all things, to that place which the king had decreed over, for the sake of destruction.

The author goes on to explain how, when they reach their destination, they have been bitterly, since many of them had been in the air, and they were unable to bury them because of the excruciating heat. When some of their party was at night, the next morning when the sun arose they were stricken down by the intense heat, and there they died. The author concludes by saying, “Now, this decree of exile was at the beginning of anno mundi 5440 (= 1679 CE), and the blessed God is redeemed at the [year’s] end; your iniquity has ended ‘ (Lam 4:22)“Here, the author makes a play on the words” Hebrew word for “(Heb. תם) having the numerical value of 440, the same as the year when abbreviated without the millennium. [23]


Mawza’e a town situated eleven-days’ walking distance from Sana’a, and ca. 12 miles (20 km) from the port of Mocha , in the Tihama coastal plain. During their long trek there, the king ‘s soldiers pressed them on. Many of the sick and elderly and children died along the way. Others would later succumb to the weather conditions of that place. All, however, suffered from hunger and thirst. Eventually, the community of Sana’a joined by other Jewish communities from across Yemen. In Mawza they remained for one full year, until 1680, when the king’s non-Jewish subjects began to complain about their lack of farm implements which had been made exclusively by Jewish craftsmen. [24] The governor of `Amranwent to the front of the room The king acquiesced and feels emissaries bearing food and water to call them back to their former cities. [25] Some occupants. Others decided to move elsewhere in Yemen. [26]

Rabbi Hayim Hibshush , speaking somewhat about this time, writes: “For the duration of one year, it was first issued, they went to the slaughter of all the districts of Yemen, while none of those who did not go into exile, excepting the district of Nihm towards the east, and the district of al-Jawf, and the eastern district of Khawlan. ” [27]

Historical records

Rabbi Yiḥyah Salaḥ (who is known by the Acronym Maharitz ) gives a most captivating account of these harrowing events by the Jews of Sana’a in the years leading up to their expulsion, also when they left their city, based on a hand -written document preserved and copied down by subsequent generations. Some have judged the sum and bearing of these events as a single microscopic example of the sufferings experienced by Yemen as a whole. Thus, he gives the following account: [28]

“… In the year one thousand, nine-hundred and eighty-six [of the Seleucid Era ] (1675  CE) the king named Isma’il died, and There Was a Famine And Many died. Then Aḥmad , the son of Hasan, reigned in His stead, Who was called Expired al-Hasni, Who Expelled the Turks, and Ruled by strength of arms, and was a man of deeds, and Went up north and captured Those districts and Went as far as to al- Yāfa'[in the south] and captured it. And in the year one thousand, nine-hundred and eighty-seven [of the Seleucid Era] (1676 CE), he destroyed the synagogues of the Jews. Then in the year one thousand, nine-hundred and eighty-eight [of the Seleucid Era] (1677 CE) there was a famine, and in the year one thousand, nine-hundred and eighty-nine (1678 CE) he expelled Israel to the desert of Mawza’, [29] which is a horrific place, and one known for its excruciating heat; its air being bad. No man could proceed on the ground on which of their bleachers and blisters which effected their feet.
Now, during that same year, when they departed from Sana’a to go to Mawza’a, there was a certain gentile to whom they committed for safekeeping several scrolls of the Law and several books of the Talmud , and of Bible codices and of Midrashicliterature [aplenty], which have been several leather-bound books which had been written by the early scholars in their own hand-writing, for they were not able to carry them because of the encumbrance along the way, since they had been driven out we have sudden, they and their wives and children. Now these books are about filled up one large room. They were of the opinion that they could make the king, and that they would return to take their books. And it came to pass when they were gone away, that that [wicked] man is burning, and burnt them all. On that very day, Israel has become impoverished in all things, whether on account of their shortage of books, or on account of their own novellæ and commentaries being burnt. Nothing remains a few things of what they had, of scrolls of the Law and Gemaras, and the other books which had been taken by the heads of the people in their own hands for their own needs in the law.
Now they are ventured out into exile, several wise and perished along the way, and several families have been taken out of the face of the earth. Now, about eighty souls died in the desert, near the village of Mawza, on account of iniquities. On That upcoming Sabbath When They atteint the village of Mawza’ it happened to be the Sabbath reading for the biblical election Known As Beḥuḳḳothai (Lev. 26:. 3-ff) [30] and there Stood up the greatest man Amongst Them to read the Reproofs , and when they came to the verse that says:And I should bring them to the forefront of their enemies, perhaps their uncircumcised heart should be brought under submission etc. (Lev 26:41) , and when he had then finished his reading, he began to expound, and the spirit of God moved him, start since ancient times, and is alluded to and is cleverly Arranged and has-been preserved in the acrostic at the end of Each word [in the Hebrew verse], ‘oyyaveihe m ‘ o ‘a z Yikan has = אויביה ם א ו א ז יכנ ע (Lev 26:41) , [and which last letters spell out]has wza’ ! By the end of the year, the blessed God took them back to the world, but they did not allow them to return to their homes, but rather to build for themselves [new] houses outside of the city. And so it was.
After these things, they live in the city, and they built houses. Now, they are appointed to Prince ( Nagid ), even the teacher and rabbi, Yiya Halevi, of blessed memory. “


Those Jews who survived, who returned to Sana’a or other towns and villages, were mostly ill-fated. In Sana’a, they were required to relinquish their ownership to their homes and fields within the city’s walls, in the neighborhood of al-Sā’ilah, and were directed to build humble abodes. a place then known as the “hyena’s field” (Ar. Qā’ al-sima’ ), or what has become known as Qā’ al-Yahud (the Jewish Quarter). [31]This place has attracted other immigrants from the other towns and cities, and they have been expelled and soon to be suburbed, located on one kilometer beyond the walls of the west of the city. The first synagogue to be built in this place was the synagogue Alsheikh, in which was housed the returnees most prized possessions: Torah scrolls and old, handwritten manuscripts. [32] Today, the place is called Qā’ al-‘Ulufi (Ar. قاع العلفي). [33] The lands upon qui They built the new Jewish Quarter Were lands provided by the king, the Jews Were goal later required to pay a monthly tenancy fee for the land, and qui money accrued to the Muslim Waqf(mortmain land) for the upkeep of their own places of worship. Between the new Jewish Quarter and the city walls is a suburb full of gardens called Bi’r al’Azab (the Single’s Well), being once the Turkish Quarter. [34] In subsequent years, the Jewish Quarter was also enclosed by a wall. [35]

At that time, the Muslims passed a new edict which forbade Jews from dwelling within Muslim neighborhoods, so they are not “defile their homes,” they were at liberty to work in the city. [36]Those who traveled through the Jewish Quarter and the city would have been one of those people who had been born in the United States. from the city’s walls. When they have been blessed by the Gentiles, they were presently envied by the Gentiles, who then went forth to the king and the Jews and would lead to a general unrest and eventual hegemony over the indigenous people. The king then passed a series of discriminatory laws (Ar. Ghiyār) intended to humiliate the Jews and to not only forbade their riding upon donkeys and horses, but also to walk on the right side of any Muslim. Jews were to pass only on the left side of all Muslims. They also believe that they would be prohibited by the rule of law, but to behave in a lowly and contrite spirit, and that offenders would be punishable by flogging. [37] Such were the conditions of the Jews at that time. quote needed ]

The Exile of Mawza’d about demographic changes that could be felt all over Yemen. In Sana’a, to discriminate the origin of the migrant Jews, all newcomers who have been living in the newly built The district of Shar’ab was called so-and-so, al-Shar’abi, or it came from the village of Maswar called so-and-so, al-Maswari. [38] In the words of the Jewish chronicler who wrote Dofi Hazeman (Vicissitudes of Time), being one of the earliest Jewish accounts of the expulsion (originally compiled by Yaḥyā ben Judah Ṣa’di in 1725) [39]and what work has been done by several chronicled reviews, we read the following testimony: [40]

He (ie, the king) then ordered to give to the Jews to return to the country and to be able to defend themselves, so set apart from the houses of the Muslims that they will not defile them. Those who were banished then came from the Tihama [coastal plain], returning from Mawza’ ; one man from a city and two from a family, for most of them had been consumed by the land of Tihamawhich exemptions of life. Neither had any of them, but they were driven out of exile, while the majority of them did not return to settle in their place, but were scattered in all the districts of Yemen. That is, from the family of the Levites, most of them returned and settled in their place. Nowadays, their place of residence in the city of ash-Sharafah, eastward of Wadi al-Sirr, stretching as far as the town of al-‘Arus which lies in the region of Kawkaban , a walking distance of one and a half days; as well as the breadth of the city of Ṣan’ā ‘, stretching as far as the extremity of the land of Arḥab, being also a walking distance of one and a half days. These traces of their lineage to Sasson the Levite, their ancestor, see that there was a law for the first time in the United States. the family of priests ( CohenimThey are each of their own, and also the family of Levites and the Israelites, each of them dwelling in their own burial grounds. Now, to this day, those Levites dwell in these districts, a few Israelites have recently arrived to dwell in their midst. In every place, the gentiles have given to them a parcel of ground, they have seen that their enemies had already taken them from their own towns and houses and vineyards and fields. Thus, they were pledged to dwell in various fields of labor, according to their various skills, in which they might find sustenance for their and of those who crushed limestone, and who were potters, and some who were wood craftsmen, and others silversmiths, while still others blacksmiths and some who were merchants; There were others who were couriers, some who were weavers, others tailors, and some who were knowledgeable in prophylactic matters; others who were physicians, and others who were chiseled away from the surface of millstones, and some of whom were porters. Now their magnanimity did not allow them to just lay back in idleness. and others who chiseled away the surface of millstones, and some of whom were porters. Now their magnanimity did not allow them to just lay back in idleness. and others who chiseled away the surface of millstones, and some of whom were porters. Now their magnanimity did not allow them to just lay back in idleness.

Danish explorer, Carsten Niebuhr , who visited the Jewish Quarter of Sana’a in 1763, some eighty-three years after the community’s return to Sana’a, estimated their numbers at only two-thousand. [41] These had built, up until 1761, fourteen synagogues within the new Jewish Quarter. In 1902, before the famine of 1905 decimated more than half of the city’s Jewish population, German explorer Hermann Burchardt estimated the Jewish population of Sana’a at somewhere between six and eight thousand. [42] By 1934, when Carl Rathjens visited Sana’a, the Jewish population in the city had swollen to about seven thousand. [43]

Fate of the Old Synagogue

One of the outcomes of the king is notoriously deceived. A Jewish public bath house in Sana’a was relinquished and passed into the ownership of the Muslim Waqf . So, too, the famous synagogue within Sana’a’s walled city and Kenisat al-‘Ulamā (The Synagogue of the Sages) was turned into a mosque and called Masjid al-Jalā – the Mosque of the Expulsion, or “Of those banished.” On the frieze (Ar. Ṭiraz ) of the Masjid al-Jalā were inscribed words with invectives, in gypsum plaster (Ar. Al-juṣ ):

“Our king, al-Mahdi , is the sun of [religious] guidance / even Aḥmad , the [grand] son ​​of him who rose to power, al-Qasim . Unto him is ascribed dignities, such as were not agreed / before [to any other], even in part. Had he not done aught goal banish / the Jews of San’a ‘ , Who Are The’ scum ‘of the world, and turned Their venerable site (Ar. Bi’ah = synagogue) into a mosque, / for bowing down unto God or standing [before Him in prayer], by that decree, he would have been more triumphant. Now the time of this event is reached with the date that is [alluded to] in ghānim [victorious] “; Ghān i m = ( Arabic: غانم ), the numerical value of which letters adds up to AH 1091 = 1680 CE). [44]

Rabbi Amram Qorah brings down a brief history of the said mosque, taken from a book originally drawn up in Arabic and which was entitled: A List of the Mosques of Ṣan’ā ‘ . [45] There is a vivid description of the events in which fateful year and reads: “Among the mosques built in the vicinity of al-Sā’ilah, northwards from the path which leads from al-Sā ‘ ilah to al-Quzālī, and the mosque [known as] Ben al-Ḥussein, built by the Imam of the Qasimid dynasty, the son of Muhammad (ie, al-Mahdi Ahmad al-Ḥasan b. al-Qasim b. Muhammad) , in the year AH1091 (= 1679 CE) in the synagogue of the Jewish Quarter, who banished them from Sana’a and removed them to a place befitting them, [a place] known as Qā’ al-Yahud on the west side of Sana’a, just as it has been intimated by the scholarly judge, Muhammad b. Ibrahim al-Suḥuli etc. “Rabbi Amram Korah Then Proceeds to bring down the words or panegyric inscribed on the frieze of the mosque in rhymed verse (see: above ), and qui Apparently HAD beens composed by Said the judge, he in qui describes the exploits of the king who has turned their synagogue into a mosque. [46]

Rabbi Amram Qorah, in the same work, recounts Rabbi Pinheas ben Gad Hacohen’s account of events, which commented on the issue of a prayer book ( Siddur ), written in 1710: [47]

“Now I will inform you, my brethren, about what has happened to this time, since the beginning of the year 1,990 of the Seleucid Era(1678 CE) and in 1.991 [of the same] (1679 CE), how did the king make a decree and demolished all the synagogues of all the towns of Yemen, and there were some of the books and sacred writings that were desecrated at the hand of the gentiles, on account of our great iniquities, Afterwards, the king made a decree against the Jews to expel them in the wilderness of Mawza, while they, at this time, demolished their houses. However, there were some who managed to sell their house; what was it worth one-thousand gold pieces they sold for one-hundred, and what was it? So, by these things, we were for a reproach among the nations, who can not wait for us to change our religion, O may God forbid! So, all of the exiles of Israel, their most beloved and precious possessions, God’s name may be sanctified, blessed be He, their fields and their vineyards, and delivered themselves as martyrs for God’s name sake, blessed be He. And if it was necessary to go out into the marketplace, it was possible to avoid it. the scripture that says, s name might be sanctified, blessed be He, their fields and their vineyards, and delivered themselves up as martyrs for God’s sake name, blessed be He. And if it was necessary to go out into the marketplace, it was possible to avoid it. the scripture that says, s name might be sanctified, blessed be He, their fields and their vineyards, and delivered themselves up as martyrs for God’s sake name, blessed be He. And if it was necessary to go out into the marketplace, it was possible to avoid it. the scripture that says,Who will raise up Jacob, for he is too small (Amos 7: 2, 5) to bear all the afflictions. So, too, was there fulfilled by reason of our iniquities the scripture that says, And I shall send to faintness in their hearts (Lev 26:36) . Yet, the divine Name, blessed be He, gives us strength and strength.

Testimonies preserved in poetry

Another man who witnessed these events, Shalem ‘Ashri, also wrote a supplicant poem about the events of that year – the Exile of Mawza, now preserved in the Yemenite Diwān , [48] which same poem is meant to be chanted as a slow dirge by one or, at the most, two individuals, It is used without the accompaniment of musical instruments, although it is sometimes used, and it is customary and proper for the nashid . His own name is spelt out in acrostic form in the first letters of each stanza: [48]

Poem: “I Shall Shed My Tears”


In the following poem of the subgenre known as qiṣṣa (poetic tale), mostly in Judeo-Arabic with only two stanzas written in Hebrew, the author gives a long testimony about the events which transpired during that year of exile. The poem is entitled, Waṣalnā hātif al-alḥān – “Tidings have reached us,” and is the work of the illustrious poet, Shalom Shabazi , who was an eye-witness to these events and was inscribed in the poem in acrostics. The rhyme, however, has been lost in translation: [53]

Poem: “Tidings Have Reached Us”


Another record of these events, is the poem composed by Sālim ben Sa’id, in Judeo-Arabic . The poem is written as a nashid and is entitled, ‘Ibda’ birrub al-‘arsh (I shall begin by addressing Him who is upon the throne). [56]

Poem: “I Shall Begins by Addressing Him Who Is Upon the Throne”


Jacob Saphir’s Testimony

In 1859, Lithuanian Jew, Jacob Sapphir , visited the Jewish community in Yemen, but they heard about the fateful event. Later, he made a written account of the same in his momentous ethnographic work, Iben Safir . [60] The full, unabridged account is given here (translated from the original Hebrew):

Jacob Saphir’s Testimony


References to Sana’a before the expulsion

There are several references to Jewish life in Sana’a before the expulsion of 1679. Maharitz ( d.1805 ) mentions in his Responsa [62] that before the Exile of Mawza the Jews of Sana’a had an old custom to say the seven blessingsfor the bridegroom and bride on a Friday morning, Following The pair’s wedding the day before. On Friday (Sabbath eve) they would pitch a wide tent within a garden called al-JowzahSabbath afternoon Sabbath afternoon Sabbath afternoon Sabbath afternoon Sabbath afternoon Sabbath afternoon Sabbath meal Sabbath meal Sabbath meal Sabbath meal , at which time somebody accompanied the bridegroom to his home. The significance of this practice, according to Maharitz, was that they made the seven injuries even when not actually eating in that place, [62]

German-Jewish ethnographer, Shelomo Dov Goitein , mentions a historical note about the old synagogue in Sana’a, before the expulsion of Jews from the city in 1679, and which is written in the glosses of an old copy of the Mishnah( Seder Moed ), written with Babylonian supralinear punctuation . [63] The marginal note concerns the accurate pronunciation of the word אישות in Mishnah Mo’ed Ḳaṭan 1: 4, and reads as follows: “Now the Jews of Sana’a read it as אִישׁוּת ( ishūth ), with a [vowel] shuraq ( shuruk ) I studied with them a long time ago, during the time when the synagogue of Sana’a was still standingin situ . “ [63]

Enactments in wake of exile (1680-1690)

Upon returning to Sana’a, the Chief Rabbis, led by R. Shelomo Manzeli and Yiya Halevi (called Alsheikh ), came together in the newly built Alsheikh synagogue and decided to put in place a series of the community, and which they hoped would prevent the recurrence of such harsh decrees against the Jewish community in the future. [64] These enactments were transcribed in a document entitled Iggereth Ha-Besoroth (Letter of Tidings), and which was believed to be disseminated among the community at large. Only excerpts of the letter have survived. [65]The enactments called out for a stricter observance of certain laws which, heretofore, had been observed with leniency. Such strictures were to be incumbent upon the whole community and which, in the Rabbis’ estimation, would have given to the community some merit in the face of oppression or persecution. Not all of these enactments, however, have been upheld by the community, since some have been seen as breaking-away from tradition. [66]

Further reading

  • Yemenite Authorities and Jewish Messianism – Aḥmad ibn Nāṣir al-Zaydī’s Account of the Sabbathian Movement in Seventeenth Century Yemen and its Aftermath , by PS van Koningsveld, J. Sadan and Q. Al-Samarrai, Leiden University, Faculty of Theology 1990
  • A history of Arabia Felix or Yemen, from the beginning of the Christian era to the present time: an account of the British Settlement of Aden by RL Playfair, Salisbury, NC: Documentary Publications 1978
  • My Footsteps Echo – The Yemen Journal of Rabbi Yaakov Sapir , edited and annotated by Yaakov Lavon, Jerusalem 1997
  • Jewish Domestic Architecture in San’a, Yemen , by Carl Rathjens (see Appendix: Seventeenth Century Documents on Jewish Houses in San’a – by SD Goitein ), Israel Oriental Society: Jerusalem 1957, pp. 68-75 [67]
  • Chapters in the Heritage of Yemenite Jewry Under the Influence of Shulhan Arukh and the Kabbalah of R. Yitzhaq Luria , by Aharon Gaimani, Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press 2005, pp. 145-158 (Hebrew)
  • Yemenite Jewry: Origins, Culture and Literature , by Rueben Aharoni, Bloomington: Indiana University Press 1986, pp. 121-135

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