“Avremie, you look so thoughtful,” said Yossi, gently tapping his shoulder. “What’s on your mind?”

Avremie looked up. “Yossi!” he thought to himself. “Just the right person to talk to. Boy, am I glad I came to shul for minchah with Tatty.” Yossie, Avremie’s cousin, was a yeshivah bachur who always had good advice for him.

“It’s about camp,” Avremie said.

“That’s only a month away,” smiled Yossi. “I bet you can’t wait.”

“Actually, I would be much more excited if I could make up my mind,” said Avremie. “You see, last year my parents let me go to overnight camp in New York. It was great, especially for kids like me who live out of town. This year, my parents said that I could go again, but Uncle Chaim invited me to come to Florida and go to his Chabad House day camp there. He said that it would be good to have more Lubavitch kids in his camp. I don’t know what to decide.”

“Well, let’s think about it together, Avremie. “Why do you think Uncle Chaim wants you to come?”

“I guess because I would be a good influence on kids who don’t know that much about Torah and mitzvos.”

“Hey Avremie! You’re already talking like a shliach. Imagine how much you could teach those kids. You’d be a great help to Uncle Chaim.”

“I know, Yossi, but I was thinking about how much I learned in camp last year. I became a five star general in the Tzivos HaShem learning contest and I could probably enter the more advanced group this year. If not for camp, I probably wouldn’t have studied so much.”

“You know, Avremie, there’s something we can learn from this week’s parshah that will help you make your decision. In Parshas Bamidbar after counting the Jewish people, HaShem tells Moshe to give the levi’im their special jobs of serving in the Mishkan. Shevet Levirepresents all the people before HaShem. The levi’im dedicate their lives to serving HaShem and bringing benefit to everyone through the many blessings that come down through their service.

“The Midrash quotes a passuk which describes the devoted service of the levi’im. It says: ‘A tzaddik will blossom like a palm tree, like a cedar tree he will prosper.’ The Baal Shem Tov explains the difference between a palm tree and a cedar tree. A cedar tree grows tall and sturdy and is very impressive. A palm tree may not grow as tall and as strong, but it has something that the cedar doesn’t have — it benefits others by giving fruit.

“The Baal Shem Tov wanted all his followers to be more like the palm tree. It’s not enough, he taught, to make sure you grow tall and impressive like a cedar tree. Chassidim should mostly be concerned with blossoming and bearing fruits for the benefit of others.”

Avremie looked thoughtful. “Thanks, Yossi. I think I know what to do now.”

Yossi winked. “Just think about all the palm trees in Florida...”

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. II, p. 557)