The 10th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat is an auspicious day for two reasons. It is the yahrzeit of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, as well as the anniversary of the day that our Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, officially accepted the mantle of leadership.

The previous Rebbe’s legacy is one of actual mesirut nefesh, self-sacrifice. Living in the Soviet Union, the previous Rebbe risked his life on a regular basis for the sake of Judaism. It was the Soviets who killed millions of people that they suspected of practicing Judaism – or being different in any way. The previous Rebbe would openly defy any attempt at comprising the Torah. He organized underground Jewish schools, sent clandestine ritual slaughterers to provide Kosher meat and assisted thousands with the performance of a Brit.

Our Rebbe assumed the leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement while living in the United States (which he often called the “Kingdom of Kindness”). The U.S. was and is a place of freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and most importantly of all, freedom of religion. So, the Rebbe’s leadership was not one where actual self-sacrifice was needed. Nevertheless the Rebbe did bring about a revolution in Jewish life. Through his thousands of emissaries around the world, the Rebbe brought the light of Judaism and the practice of its principles to the farthest and darkest corners of the globe. He demanded of himself and his followers the sacrifice of will. There is no need to put aside our lives, but we need to put aside our will to do G‑d’s will.

When speaking to my friends in recovery and telling them about the difference between these two giants, my friends unanimously agreed that the Rebbe’s life and leadership was an example of the Third Step: "Made a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of G‑d."

Step Three is not a one time deal. We need to take this step continuously. Many times a day we stop, and ask G‑d for guidance on what His will is for us. Whether G‑d answers isn't the point, the point is to get into the habit of checking ourselves. We pause and consider if what we want to do is what G‑d wants us to do. That pause is an act of humility. It’s a holy moment, a moment that the angels are in awe of. Then we go ahead and do G‑d’s will instead of our own, for this is the ultimate act of becoming a vehicle for our Creator. Let's let ourselves be used by G‑d because it’s the most useful thing we can do.

The Rebbe taught us that we should thank G‑d that today we don't have to sacrifice our lives — but more than ever we do have to sacrifice our will. We need to learn to put self-centeredness in its place. As a matter of fact, part of the Third Step prayer says, "Please relieve me of the bondage of self." So, the next time that my alarm clock goes off, right there is my opportunity to put aside my will (go back to sleep) and do G‑d’s will (get up). It becomes less about me and more about doing the right thing. It sounds so much easier than standing up to the Soviet Empire; yes, but this is a constant challenge that we are confronted with many times each day. It’s not as dramatic, but it is what G‑d’s will is for us today.