On Chanukah, we light the candles in a way that is unique to this holiday. Instead of lighting them directly from a match, we first light a candle called the shamash.
The shamash is the attendant, or “servant” candle.
Pro Tip: A Chanukah candle is a great substitute for a lighter and an easy way to light deep votive candles or other hard to reach candles. A box of Chanukah candles is an inexpensive addition to your home tool kit. 😉
Back to the shamash.
One thing to consider is that the shamash doesn’t light itself. And it’s not an eternal flame.
If we wanted to recall the miracle of the Temple oil more literally, lighting a candle that burns for a full week might have been a better option. Doesn’t that more closely resemble the miracle?
The fact that we light new candles every night — that we relight the shamash every night — teaches us something.
The shamash itself needs a source of light, and it’s light must be rekindled each night for it to light the other candles.
You can’t light a candle without a flame. And even the shamashes of this world, the servants of the light, need a source.
Many spiritual teachers, healers, servant leaders, and other forms of lightworkers forget this. We tend to think that doing the work will sustain us. Until our flame extinguishes and we burnout.
You can’t light a candle with an extinguished flame. Before you can spread light to the world you must replenish and restore your own light.