Epistle to Yemen/VI
O sons of Jacob, will not be consumed." (Malachi 3:6). Similarly He has avowed and assured us that it is unimaginable that He will reject us entirely even if we disobey Him, and disregard His behests, as the prophet Jeremiah avers, "Thus saith the Lord: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, Then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 31:36). Indeed this very promise has already been given before through Moses our Teacher who says, "And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God." (Leviticus 26:44).
Put your trust in the true promises of Scripture, brethren, and be not dismayed at the series of persecutions or the enemy's ascendency over us, or the weakness of our people. These trials are designed to test and purify us so that only the saints and the pious ones of the pure and undefiled lineage of Jacob will adhere to our religion and remain within the fold, as it is written, "And among the remnant are those whom the Lord shall call." (Joel 3:5). This verse makes it clear that they are not numerous, being the descendents of those who were present on Mount Sinai,4 witnessed the divine Revelation, entered into the covenant of God, and undertook to do and obey as is signified in their saying, "we will do, and obey." (Exodus 24:7). They obligated not only themselves but also their descendants, as it is written, "to us and to our children forever." (Deuteronomy 29:28). We have been given adequate divine assurance that not only did all the persons who were present at the Sinaitic Revelation believe in the prophecy of Moses and in his Law, but that their descendants likewise would do so, until the end of time, as it is written, "Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and may also believe thee forever." (Exodus 10:9).
Consequently it is manifest that he who spurns the religion that was revealed at that theophany, is not an offspring of the folk who witnessed it. For our sages of blessed memory have insisted that they who entertain scruples concerning the divine message are not scions of the race that were present on Mount Sinai. (Nedarim 20a). May God guard us and you from doubt, and banish from our midst confusion, suspicion, which lead to it.
Now, my co-religionists in the Diaspora, it behooves you to hearten one another, the elders to guide the youth, and the leaders to direct the masses. Give your assent to the Truth that is immutable and unchangeable, and to the following postulates of a religion that shall never fail. God is one in a unique sense of the term, and Moses is His prophet and spokesman, and the greatest and most perfect of the seers. To him was vouchsafed by God what has never been vouchsafed to any prophet before him, nor will it be in the future. The entire Torah was divinely revealed to Moses of whom it was said, "with him do I speak mouth to mouth." (Numbers 12:8). It will neither be abrogated nor superseded, neither supplemented nor abridged. Never shall it be supplanted by another divine revelation containing positive and negative duties. Keep well in mind the Revelation on Sinai in accordance with the divine precept to perpetuate the memory of this occasion and not to allow it to fall into oblivion. Furthermore we were enjoined to impress this event upon the minds of our children, as it is written, "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes saw, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but make them known unto thy children and thy children's children." (Deuteronomy 4:9).
It is imperative, my fellow Jews, that you make this great spectacle of the Revelation appeal to the imagination of your children. Proclaim at public gatherings its momentousness. For this event is the pivot of our religion, and the proof which demonstrates its veracity. Evaluate this phenomenon at its true importance for Scripture has pointed out its significance in the verse, "For ask now of the days past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?" (Deuteronomy 4:32).
4 The phrase מעמד הר סיני occurs already in the Hebrew translation of Saadia's Emunot we-Deot, ch. VIII. ed. Bialystok, p. 167. In the Arabic text it is partly Hebrew and Arabic הר סיני --- cf. ed. Landauer, p. 231. The phrase יום מעמד הר סיני is found in a poem by Abraham ben Halfon, printed in ציונים קובץ לזכרונר של שמחוני, Berlin, 1929, p. 71. Ibn Adret has a responsum on מעמד הר סיני, cf. his Responsa vol. IV, no. 234 and Edelman, דברי חפץ, London 1853 and J.Q.R. VIII, 217-237. Albo uses the phrase מעמד ששים רבוא cf. Ikkarim III. ed. Husik, pp. 180, 189. In the Talmud and the Midrash the phrase עמדו על הר סיני is met with frequently, cf. e. g. Shab. 146a, Ned. 20a, B. B. 120a, Num. R. VII.4, Cant. R. I.4 and Seder Eliayahu Rabbah, ed. Freidmann, p. 101. In Ber. 32b, the rabbis refer to the Revelation as מעשה מיני.