Letter V from the Cairo Geniza Open this page in a new tab

The Hebrew word genizah is variously translated to safe-keeping, hiding, archive, treasury, or hiding-place. It is a depository where worn-out, heretical, or disgraced books, written or printed, useless documents and letters, or other objects of pious solicitude, are stored. ( Gottheil and Worrel, 1927:xi) The documents of the Cairo Geniza were kept in the Ben Ezra synagogue of Fustat in Old Cairo.

Gottheil and Worrel (1927:26) provided some background on Letter V
This letter was written to a Ga’on Jacob Ben Joseph ha-Hasidh, perhaps the Jacob Ben Joseph Ab-Beth-Dln who as rabbi signed documents at Fustat in A.D. 1016 and 1018, and did the same at Aleppo in 1028. Cf. Mann, op. cit., vol. i, pp. 37, 150. The writer of the letter is an important person in Jerusalem. At the time when this Jacob was in Fustat the chief dignitary in Jerusalem was Josiah Ga’on. Cf. Mann, op. cit., vol. i, pp. 71 ff. His letters are not unlike this in their opening words. The “glorious place” which collapsed was probably a synagogue; and the cause may have been the earthquake of A.D. 1016. Cf. Mann, op. cit., vol. i, pp. 72, 156.