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Friday, 27 June, 2014 - 2:37 pm

 A Jewish grandmother gets on the crowded bus and discovers that she doesn't have correct change for the fare. The driver tries to be firm with her, but she places her hand delicately over her chest and murmurs, "If you knew what I had, you'd be nicer to me." He caves in and lets her ride for free.

She tries to push her way down the crowded aisle but people won't move over for her. 
She finally murmurs, "If you knew what I had, you'd be nicer to me." The crowd parts like the Red Sea and lets her down the aisle.
She gets to the back of the bus where there are no seats, once again she murmurs, "If you knew what I had, you'd be nicer to me."
Several people jump up and insist that she sit down and ride in comfort.
A woman who had been watching all this leaned over and said to her, "I know this is none of my business, but just what is it that you've got, anyway?
The Jewish grandmother smiled and said—“chutzpah.”
This coming Tuesday marks the 20th Yarhzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe N.D. One of the underlying many themes of his teachings is the necessity of a deeper look of what we see to discover the positive perspective and infinite potential which lies behind what often appears to be negative.
Rabbi Yehoshua stated: All my life I interpreted the verse—in this week’s portion Chukat—“The pure person should sprinkle on the impure person” to mean that only one pure person can sprinkle the purifying water mix of the Red Heifer onto one impure person. Until I learned in the treasure-chest of the city of Yavneh another law concerning tithing, from which I have learned that one man can sprinkle the mixture on, 1000 or more people and purify them all.
What’s the difference if he sprinkles on one man or one Thousand men?
This dilemma applies to each of our lives:
When you feel that so many forces, internally or externally, are undermining you, how can you feel optimistic and confident that the little goodness and positive power and light in you will prevail and be triumphant? It makes no sense.  A man for a man, fine. But one against 1000 and win?
This is what Rabbi Yehoshuah discovered the truth “from the treasure-chest of Yavneh.”
The year was 70 CE. Rome sent thousands of troops to destroy Israel, burn the Holy Temple, massacre the Jews, crush Jewish political independence and put an end to the existence of the Jewish people as a distinct, sovereign nation.
Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai, requested from Roman Emperor Give me Yavne and its students.
The city of Yavneh was the home of the central Jewish educational institutions at the time.
Rome owns the world! does Rabbi Yochanan think that a few old sages in Yavneh studying Torah with their students can do something significant for the Jewish people? Let us forward the "tape-recorder" of history 1900 years. Come with me today to Rome. Where is  Caesar? Where is the Roman Empire? In Wikipedia…
Now come with me to Israel. Come with me to NY, LA, Melbourne, London, Johannesburg. Millions of Jews still celebrating their Judaism. How did that happen?
"Give me Yavneh and its students." Because it was in the school of Yavneh where the sages devised a way of making sure that Judaism lived on in every Jewish home and in every Jewish heart. A shattered nation was rebuilt through one instrumentality: Torah education.
The Jewish people survived!
Why? One pure man can sprinkle and purify in one time 1000 impure people. Because goodness is eternal, it is G-dly. Darkness is powerful but it is superficial, it lacks the power of eternity. G-d is the only enduring reality, and goodness is an expression of G-d. So a little bit of purity possesses the incredible power to transform excessive impurity.
This is true in our lives as well. We are often overtaken by negative feelings, but if you kindle a flame, if you do even a small positive thing to fix a mistake, if you start lighting small flames of goodness in your life, you will be shocked to see how successful you will be in transforming your past and your future.
The story of Yavneh was repeated once again in our generation.
Following the greatest tragedy ever to have struck the people of the covenant, the Holocaust, Jewish life has come close to extinction. What happened next will one day be told as one of the great acts of reconstruction in the religious history of mankind: A handful of Holocaust survivors and refugees set about rebuilding on new soil the world they had seen go up in flames. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose 20th yartzeit will be observed this  coming Tuesday July 1, and another few great Jewish leaders, refused to yield to despair.
The Rebbe’s message was simple and revolutionary: “From the treasure chest of Yavneh we have learnt that one pure person can purify multitudes.”
And so the Rebbe embarked on his mission of empowering individuals to transform complete communities, sometimes entire cities and even countries. The Rebbe told his students: Go to a city, and start sprinkling purifying waters… and even if you think you have so much resistance, and you are one lonely man in an environment alien to you and your message, continue sprinkling and you will discover that thousands will be attracted to the purity and holiness of Torah and Yedesishkeit.
Where did the Rebbe get this vision and courage from? From the treasure chest of Yavneh!
The Rebbe saw the possibility of a geometric effect. A handful of students could influence many many more. Through this multiplier effect, a whole generation can regain its life line to eternity.  
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Yoseph Geisinsky
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