‘should he die it will go into effect as a valid bill of divorce’

Jewish traders sailing to India often died on route, or arrived, settled and never returned. Under Jewish law a wife would remain legally bound to her vanished husband. They were known as ‘chained women’, could not remarry, and often had to rely on public charity to survive. Considerate husbands gave their wives a conditional bill of divorce before they set out on a voyage. The trader Moses son of Yefet gave this conditional divorce deed to his wife Sitt al-Fakhr daughter of Toviyya before a journey to Yemen. Torn up and thrown into the Genizah chamber, perhaps Sitt al-Fakhr never used it.

Fustat, 1169 CE

Judaeo-Arabic, paper

T-S 8J5.23

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