In what has become a highly anticipated annual event, people worldwide are awaiting the announcement of the third annual MyLife: Chassidus Applied Essay Contest winners.
The winners will be announced during the weekly live broadcast of MyLife: Chassidus Applied this Sunday night, April 2, 8PM — a special edition in honor of the Rebbe’s 115th birthday, Yud Aleph Nissan.
Multiple rounds of judgement have narrowed the pool of contestants from hundreds, down to the top 20. “At this final stage of the competition, all of the essays we are looking at are extremely high quality,” says judge Rabbi Dovid Olidort. “We need to be very critical in our analysis in order to arrive at a winner.”
“Witnessing the sheer diversity and quality of these essays has been absolutely fascinating,” says Contest Director Rabbi Sruli Baron. “From deeply moving personal experiences, to highly innovative methodologies, each essay has a life of its own. It’s intriguing to see the many unique styles and approaches used — and the wide spectrum of topics covered — toward applying Chassidus to life.”
The first place winner of the contest will receive $10,000, the second $3,600, and the third place winner $1,000.
“We are all excited about the outcome of this contest,” says Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Dean of The Meaningful Life Center, “but its greatest accomplishment is the fact that hundreds of people from all walks of life have been motivated to bring Chassidus alive in a very personal way. This contest was launched in order to galvanize a new generation of leaders and thinkers to apply the works of our Rebbeim to the challenges we face today. Reading through these essays, originating from young students to seasoned educators, and seeing the public’s enthusiasm palpably grow from year to year, it is clear that we are achieving our goal.”
This theme is beautifully reflected by Mrs. Chana Perman who, though unable to submit an essay this year, nevertheless submitted a whimsical poem:
Each year, upon seeing ‘MLC essay contest’
I intend to enter and win
(Well can’t I try my best?)
But the always-knowing voice
Drones straight through my head
For G-d ‘s sake! — there be scholars
Whose wisdom, widely read
One can’t compete with those
Possessing years of wisdom under belt
(Plus the motivation of 10 thousand dollars gelt)
And I don’t really have the time
For all the research entailed
And my painstaking, circuitous manner
Deems me academic snail
There’s a deadline
Which will stress
Resulting in contracted mind
I’ll get a few thoughts down on paper
Then straggle far behind
So the intention disappears
Leaving in its wake
The protection and false security
Of having made no mistake
Yet Chasidic teachings are for all
“Not in the sky” — but “close to you”
Whether I enter the contest or not
I’m an ever-striving Jew
The greatest triumph achieved
Is shedding the shackles of doubt
Absorbing the lessons of Chassidus
Letting the G-dly soul shine out
As taught in Toward a Meaningful Life
(Will save you thousands in therapy bills)
“Work (very!) hard to succeed —
All the while knowing that you are working to fulfill
To apply the Rebbe’s teachings
In thought, action, and speech
Asking oneself consistently
What goals am I trying to reach?
It’s not so much a contest
As a lifelong aspiration and endeavor
The extent of its success
Only G-d can truly measure.
Chana Perman holds a master’s degree in special education and has been in the field of education for over twenty-five years. Her writing has been featured on Chabad.org and in The Canadian Jewish News.
Chana continually strives to emulate the timeless lessons imparted by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, “…recognizing that everything you do is important to God, and is one vital piece of the larger picture of your life.”
Tune in to the MyLife: Weekly Broadcast, this Sunday night, April 2, at 8:00 p.m. EST to hear the announcement of the contest winners.
The MyLife: Chassidus Applied Essay Contest is made possible by a grant from The Meromim Foundation.