MLC Essay Contest Musings

By Chana Perman, Toronto, Canada
Essays 2017

MyLife Essay Contest 2017

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 Chasidus
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
G-d’s will.”

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.