“I’m impressed at how you really found your way out of those woods, Rochie,” Chavie said with a sigh of relief. Rochie, the counselor of Bunk Six, grinned at her co-counselor and whispered, “We’ll talk later.” Loudly, she urged her campers on. “Let’s go, girls! Last one to the water fountain is a dried up petunia!”

“We are all dried up petunias already,” the girls called out laughing.

Bunk Six had been out on a hike in the woods and had taken a wrong turn. It was a hot, sticky hour later by the time Rochie led them back to the right trail.

Later, Rochie admitted to Chavie: “I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was doing when I made all those turns on the winding trail. I was awfully worried. I just prayed that we would get back fast.”

“Really?” Chavie asked in disbelief. “You looked so calm, and you’d put the girls in such a happy mood!”

“I had to,” explained Rochie. “I’m their counselor. Imagine how upset everyone would have been if I had told them how worried I was.”

Rochie had followed the example of Moshe Rabbeinu. As we learned at the end of last week’s parshah, when the Jewish people had to wage war with Og the king of Bashan, Moshe was worried. “Perhaps,” Moshe thought to himself, “we will not be able to overcome Og because he has special merit that will work in his favor.” It was Og who had long ago informed Avrohom Avinu that his nephew Lot had been taken as a prisoner of war.

But Moshe kept his thoughts to himself, as Rashi tells us, “He said in his heart.” Moshe was not going to let his worry affect the rest of the Jewish people.

This is exactly the opposite of what Balak the king of Moav did, as we find in this week’s parshah. The parshah begins by telling us, “And Balak the son of Tzipor saw all that Yisrael had done to the Emori, and the people of Moav became very frightened.” In their despair, the people of Moav turned to the elders of Midian to devise a plan to overcome the Jewish people.

Why did the people of Moav suddenly become so frightened at this point? The passuk tells us that they were afraid of the sheer size of the Jewish people. But if that was the only reason, then they should have been frightened earlier. The Jewish people were instructed by HaShem not to pass through the land of Moav, but to encircle it. We understand that the Jews had been encamped around the borders of Moav for some time. The people of Moav had already seen them and their huge camp.

Rashi explains that it was Balak himself who had caused his people to panic at this point. Everyone had heard what had happened to the people of Sichon and Emori. But Balak knew something that his people did not. He knew about a secret arrangement that the nations living in and around Eretz Yisrael had with the kings of Sichon and Emori. They paid a special tax to these two powerful kingdoms so that they would be protected. Now that those kingdoms were defeated, Balak was in despair. He could not control himself and blurted out the whole story to his people. No wonder they all panicked and rushed to consult the elders of Midian at this point.

* * *

Now is the time of year when we celebrate the days of Yud Beis-Yud Gimmel Tammuz. The Previous Rebbe was a true leader, like Moshe Rabbeinu. Before he was arrested, the Previous Rebbe had realized that he and his entire network of activities were in grave danger. Later, he actually mentioned how frightened he was of the dangers. Yet, at the time he did not show his feelings to anyone; quite the opposite! He encouraged everyone to continue their efforts to spread Yiddishkeit even after he had already been arrested and thrown into prison. His strong stance of courage and leadership eventually led to his release from prison and to the continued spread of Yiddishkeit around the world.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VIII, p. 141)