Most of the fifth graders at Yeshivas Levi Yitzchak were talking about summer camp. But Yankie, Moishe, and Berel were three of a group of boys who were not going to camp.

“Let’s organize a program for ourselves,” suggested Moishe to his friends.

“What do you mean?” the boys asked.

“Well,” Moishe began. “We can get a group of five or six kids together. Every day, someone else’s parents will be in charge of that day’s program. So if we do it for four weeks, our parents will each have only four days or less. That’s not a lot to ask if we will be busy for a whole month.”

“What will we do?” asked Berel.

“We can start by davening together, then learning. We can do arts and crafts, go swimming, go on trips. We can do a lot of the things that kids do at camp, but we’ll just organize it ourselves with a little bit of our parents’ help.”

The boys got their parents involved, and soon everyone was busy planning the program. One evening, while Yankie and his father were working out their schedule, Yankie said: “Tatti, everyone keeps calling our program ‘Moishe’s group.’ That’s not really fair; we’re all working on it.”

Yankie’s father patted him on the head gently. “Don’t be offended. You are all working hard for the program,” he told him. “But you’re right, I have heard other parents also call this ‘Moishe’s group.’ There is a similar question about the name of this week’s parshah.

“This week’s parshah is called Balak. Wouldn’t you think it should have been called Bilaam? After all, the entire episode centers around him. As a matter of fact, when the Rambam speaks about the prophecies mentioned in this parshah, he calls it Parshas Bilaam.”

“I never thought of it that way,” said Yankie. “You’re right. Bilaam is the main character in the parshah. So why is it called Balak?”

“Because Balak was the one who started it all,” replied his father. “It was Balak’s idea to curse the Jewish people. Even though Bilaam is the one who was hired to utter the curse, Balak was the man behind it. Just like the Haftorah says: ‘Remember what Balak advised and Bilaam responded.’ Balak had the idea. All Bilaam did was respond.

“So we see that the people who get things started are the ones who are singled out. If this is so with very bad ideas like the one Balak had, how much more should we give credit to people who suggest good ideas and get good things going?”

(Adapted from Sichos Shabbos Parshas Balak, 5733)