In connection with the tenth of Shvat coming upon us, it should be suggested to the girls, at least the older ones among them, that each one should write an essay about some topic related to the work (avodah) of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, his talks, etc. etc. (Igros Kodesh, vol. 10, pp. 238-239)
In a beautiful revelation of Hashgacha Protis, the MyLife: Essay Contest was conceived and pitched on the very same day, 18 Teves, that the Rebbe wrote the letter urging essays be written in honor of Yud Shvat – exactly sixty years earlier! Upon hearing the hashgocho protis of the Rebbe’s letter, one of the leading mashpiim in Lubavitch announced: “This is poshut the Rebbe reaching out, giving a giant niskabel v’tach…mamosh a miracle”.
In an unprecedented way of bringing Chassidus to life, the MyLife: Essay Contest invites participants of all ages and backgrounds to submit an original essay applying either an idea in Chassidus or an approach and methodology based on a maamer in Chassidus, to solve a contemporary life issue. The winner will be carefully selected by panel of judges comprised of distinguished Torah and Chassidus scholars – Rabbi Leibel Altein, Rabbi Dr. Yaakov Brawer, Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson, Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, and Rabbi Eli Silberstein. First place will receive $10,000, the runner-up $3,600 and the third place winner a $500 gift certificate.
In honor of Yud Shvat, The Meaningful Life Center (MLC) presents the MyLife: Essay Contest as a way to connect to the Rebbe and the directive of all the Rebbeim to spread the light of Chassidus. Rabbi Jacobson, in a heartfelt message to yeshiva and seminary directors, urges the involvement of talmidim haTemimim in the contest as a way to “directly guide and shape their minds and hearts and educate them to actualize their great potential so that they may live up to the expectation of the Rebbeim to be neiros l’hoir, using the ohr and chayos of Chassidus to illuminate each and every individual they come in contact with.”
The idea of this contest is borne from MLC’s popular Sunday night program MyLife: Chassidus Applied which just completed its first anniversary since being launched. The hour-long live broadcast features Rabbi Simon Jacobson responding to personal and psychological questions based on Chassidus. Over the course of the year, he responded to the many questions that were submitted by anash through the MyLife anonymous form, tacking the most challenging, taboo and controversial topics facing Lubavitch. The MyLife series has sparked an impassioned movement to apply Chassidus to real life challenges.
The Rebbe adds in the same letter, It’s interesting to note that the Rebbe also adds in the same letter, “We see from experience, here and in other places, that when you draw in the students so that they get involved in the work by making their own presentations etc., this evokes far greater enthusiasm and interest among their friends”. +
Rabbi Jacobson affirms that submitting an essay in honor of Yud Shvat is imperative, “The MyLife: Essay Contest provides such a motivation and zchus to invest oneself in applying Chassidus, and in doing so, actualizing one’s potential by illuminating the world with the ohr and chayos of Chassidus. As Moshiach told the Baal Shem Tov 268 years ago, his coming is dependent on yefutzu mayonosecho chutza, may it be karov b’yemeinu mamesh!” declares Rabbi Jacobson.