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    Parshas Chukas begins
    with the laws of Tumas
    Mes, where we learn
    that if a person comes
    in contact with a dead
    body (or is merely under
    the same roof as a dead
    body) he is given the status of a ‘Tameh Mes‘
    and the only way for him to become tahor is
    for him to be sprinkled with the water of the
    Parah Adumah on day three and day seven of a
    seven-day procedure.
    The pasuk reads, “And the pure one shall
    sprinkle on the impure one on the third day
    and on the seventh day, and he shall purify him
    on the seventh day; then he shall immerse his
    clothing and immerse his flesh in water and be
    pure in the evening. [Bamidbar 19:19]. There
    is an interesting passage in the Talmud
    Yerushalmi which certainly requires further
    exposition. Rav Yehoshua ben Kafsai said
    “My whole life I read this pasuk ‘the pure one
    shall sprinkle on the impure one…’ and I
    assumed that a single tahor individual needed
    to sprinkle the Parah Adumah water on a
    single impure individual.” Rav Yehoshua ben
    Kafsai then says, “This was the case until I
    learned otherwise from ‘Oztroseha shel
    Yavneh’ (literally – the storehouse of Yavneh)

    that a single tahor individual can even sprinkle
    on many tameh individuals.”
    The question is, what does it mean he learned
    this law from the “Otzros of Yavneh”? What
    does the Talmud Yerushalmi mean by the term
    storehouse of Yavneh? Rav Meir Shaprio, the
    Lubliner Rav and the founder of the Daf Yomi
    concept, was also a powerful orator. He
    presents a homiletic exposition to this passage
    of the Talmud Yerushalmi.
    What happened in Yavneh? At the time of the
    destruction of the Second Beis HaMikdash,
    Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai met Vespasian,
    the Roman General who later became Emperor
    of the Roman Empire. Vespasian granted Rav
    Yochanon ben Zakkai three wishes. One of the
    three things Rav Yochanon ben Zakkai asked
    for was “Yavneh and her Sages.” Yavneh was
    a city on the Mediterranean Coast of Eretz
    Yisrael. It had a Yeshiva. Rav Yochanon
    pleaded that this Yeshiva be spared so that
    despite the great Destruction that was coming
    to the Beis HaMikdash and the Jewish
    population in Jerusalem and other parts of the
    country, he would have a few remaining
    Talmidei Chachomim who would preserve
    Torah and Judaism for future generations.
    The Talmud (Gittin 56b) suggests that Rabbi

    Yochanon ben Zakkai may have made a
    mistake. Perhaps one of his requests of
    Vespasian should have been to spare the Beis
    HaMikdash. Be that as it may, Rav Meir
    Shapiro suggests that the Yerushalmi, in
    referring to the “Otzros of Yavneh,” was
    indeed referring to the lesson learned from the
    Yeshiva of Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai in
    The Torah that we learn here today, and the
    fact that there are still people who learn Torah
    throughout the Jewish world, is the result of
    the few Talmidei Chachomim left in Yavneh
    after the Churban HaBayis who literally saved
    the world of Torah. Had they been wiped out,
    Torah would have been forgotten.
    So, what do we see from the “Otzros of
    Yavneh“? Rav Yehoshua ben Kafsai was
    saying, “I see from Yavneh the power of one
    individual. One person—and certainly a few
    good people—can make a difference, can save
    the world! I always thought that one tahor
    person can sprinkle on one other tameh person
    and have a one-on-one affect. But from
    Yavneh I see that one tahor person can affect
    hundreds of people.”
    We have seen in our lifetime individuals who
    have revolutionized the world. It is his

    homiletic insight, so we can cite him as an
    example. Consider Rav Meir Shapiro himself.
    It is mind-boggling to think of the zechus Rav
    Meir Shapiro has for coming up with Daf
    Yomi. Thousands and thousands of people
    worldwide learn Daf Yomi. Rav Meir Shapiro
    did not live 2,000 years ago or even 200 years
    ago. He lived in the 20th century. He came up
    with an idea that revolutionized the world.
    There are people like that.
    There are others as well—Rav Aaron Kotler,
    the Vilna Gaon, the Ramban and the
    Rambam—people that revolutionized the
    Torah world. But even people like us can make
    a difference. One person can make a difference.