familiedocumenten/the travels of Moses Cassuto p.2
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The travels of Moses Cassuto, 1733-1735 and 1741-1743
A unique document is the diary of Moses Vita Cassuto, written in the first half of the eighteenth century and describing his two journeys, one to Palestine and one to England and Holland. On this page a part of the summary of this diary describing the trip from Cairo to Hebron and his stay in the city of Hebron and its Jewish community anno 1734.
landing in Egypt
Jerusalem and Safed
From Palestine to Constantinople
From Constantinople to Vienna
Arrival and stay in Hebron, anno1734
by caravan through the Sinai
On his return to Cairo, happy from his outing, Cassuto found a small caravan about to leave for the Holy Land and the city of Hebron which he arranged to join. To cross the desert involved as much preparation, he says, as a journey by sea, it being necessary to take water as well as victuals, since there are stages of five, six or more days without them.
a pair of camel-bags called mullie, and hired a camel and on Monday 15
February 1734 it appeared and on it they loaded themselves and their baggage
with the child in the middle. On Wednesday 18 February the caravan assembled
and left for the Desert. There were 120 people in the caravan among them
two Rabbis already well known to him as 'ambassadors' (shilukim) of Hebron.
He describes his journey. These Rabbis told him on the way that though
they had many times been on this road they had never had so fair a journey,
and that one of them when making it had been robbed by an Arab and left
completely naked without even a shirt but was found by an Arab with a
camel who brought him near to the city of Hebron, from whence he called
for garments to be brought to him,
a custom: renting garments at the view of Hevron
At two hours
distance from the city of Hebron on the top of a mountain was a small
domed building covering a tank of water, at the side of which is a cave,
where David cut the mantle of King Saul.
The Jews at Hebron
no Catholics or Christians at all there, but the Hebrews inhabit forty
houses in a ghetto, where they apply themselves to studies and a life
leaving his son at Hebron and sight seeing
Here he preferred
to leave his son, rather than in Jerusalem, since it was more peaceful
and withdrawn, and with the help of friends discovered a Rabbi of good
position, living only with his mother and wife but without sons. They
were all delighted to have the little boy in their house and to treat
him as their own child and to train him in his studies. He paid them for
a year's keep and signed a contract accordingly.
He then gives
the text of a prayer to be recited at the tombs of patriarchs, prophets,
and saints. This came in useful, for, his mind now at rest on the subject
of his mission, he now felt able to visit the sights near by; the tomb
of Jesse on a mountain, below it, that of Abner, King David's commander-in-chief,
the tombs of the Hebrews outside the town,
departure for Jerusalem
25 March 1734 he left Hebron with his servant early in the morning by
mule for Jerusalem, passing Bethlehem and the tomb of Rachel.
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