Letter to Maimonides from his brother David
Maimonides, Moshe Ben Maimon, also known as the Rambam, was born in Cordoba, Spain but was obliged to move frequently. In the course of his life he became leader of the Jewish Community in Egypt, and also earnt his living as a doctor at the Egyptian court. However, additionally, he was supported by his youngest brother David.
…”the Maimonides family, hoping to increase their wealth, gave their savings to (Maimonides’) brother, the youngest son David ben Maimon, a merchant. Maimonides directed his brother to procure goods only at the Sudanese port of ‘Aydhab. After a long arduous trip through the desert, however, David was unimpressed by the goods on offer there. Against his brother’s wishes, David boarded a ship for India, since great wealth was to be found in the East. Before he could reach his destination, David drowned at sea sometime between 1169 and 1177. The death of his brother caused Maimonides to become sick with grief.
In a letter (discovered later in the Cairo Geniza), he wrote:
The greatest misfortune that has befallen me during my entire life—worse than anything else—was the demise of the saint, may his memory be blessed, who drowned in the Indian sea, carrying much money belonging to me, to him, and to others, and left with me a little daughter and a widow. On the day I received that terrible news I fell ill and remained in bed for about a year, suffering from a sore boil, fever, and depression, and was almost given up. About eight years have passed, but I am still mourning and unable to accept consolation. And how should I console myself? He grew up on my knees, he was my brother, [and] he was my student…”
My video is a reading of the above-mentioned letter, sent by David to his brother Moshe, on the eve of this fateful journey.