You Have the Ability to Light-Up the World

The Shamash is the servent or helper candle
Photo courtesy of Dreamstimelirika | Dreamstime.com

Every Chanukah, Jews light candles in their chanukiot, the special candle holders or menorahs, used on the holiday. They do this for eight days, but most of them miss the significance of the shamash, the helper candle, used to light all the others. They focus on the eight beautiful flames, and pay little attention to the ninth one, which bears a message for people from all religions and spiritual traditions.

The shamash serves one purpose:  It attends to the other candles by lighting their wicks and keeping them lit. It is not counted as one of the candles that represents the eight nights of Chanukah, but it is not extinguished after it does its job. It stays lit just in case any of the other candles go out and need to be rekindled.

The Message of the Shamash

The Shamash reminds you of the choice you have about how you live your life. It asks you to answer this question:

Do I want to be a shamash and help light other candles, or do I want to be a Chanukah candle and wait for the shamash to light my flame?

As a Chanukah candle, you spend your days waiting for someone or something to fire up your life. You never generate your own spark or flame. You don’t take responsibility for shining your light in the world but depend upon others to help you do so.

As a shamash, however, your purpose is to light up those you meet or know—to serve them in reaching their potential and their purpose. You generate your own fire and take responsibility for keeping it lit as you inspire or ignite the fire in others.

Light Up the World

Personally, I’d rather be a shamash. I like to know that I’m lighting up the lives of those I meet and inspiring them in some way—lighting their flame so they feel they can shine more brightly in the world. I like to know that I can be of service.

Through my writing and coaching, I believe I work as a shamash. I think the energy I put out ignites a flame in others and helps them light up the world. In this way, I light up the world, even if it’s just a small section.

What about you? Do you feel you are lighting up the world in any way? Do your actions ignite flames in the people you meet? Do you leave them glowing more brightly when you walk away?

You don’t need to be Jewish or celebrate Chanukah to think about how you can take on the role of the shamash. I challenge you today to come up with at least one way you can ignite a fire in the people you know or help their flames burn more brightly. Consider how you can help them keep their flames lit.

Tell me in a comment how you perform the role of the shamash now or plan to do it in the future.

Read more about the power of the Chanukah candles here.

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4 thoughts on “You Have the Ability to Light-Up the World”

  1. I believe I am a shamash because I am sharing my story in a way that shows those who have experienced similar losses can come to me for help, love, and encouragement. And they do.

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