Be the Shamash




Blessed are You, Adonai, who enables each one of us to spread light and uplift those around us

One Voice - The Wailin' Jennys

Texts on Be the Shamash

Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.

(Anne Frank)

[Chanukah] celebrates the miracle of people looking after one another and doing what is right. In a traditional chanukiyah, the candles representing each day are not higher than one another. In a divisive world, we have rituals to remind us that there's danger when we lift one group over another, and there's hope and beauty when we connect to one another as equals. (Rabbi Daveen Litwin)

The candle of God is the soul of a person, searching their innermost parts. (Proverbs 20:27)

It is written in the book of Proverbs “The candle of God is the soul of a person, searching their innermost parts.” The Talmud teaches that that searching requires a candle. One candle from another. “I will seek out Jerusalem with candles” (Zeph. 1:12)... The word NeR (candle) stands for Nefesh Ruach (“soul” and “spirit”)...Especially at this season, when lights were miraculously lit for Israel even though they did not have enough oil, there remains light even now to help us, with the aid of these Chanukah candles, to find that hidden light within. Hiding takes place mainly in the dark; we need the candles’ light of this season to seek and to find the hidden light within. (S’fat Emet)

Questions to Consider...

  • What brought you light and goodness this year?

  • How did that light encourage you to bring light and goodness into the world?

  • Whom do you know who could benefit from some light and goodness this year?

Silver Dreidel



Who are the people and what are the moments where you have felt encouraged? Who has spread their light to you? What about their words or actions built you up and helped you burn brighter? With this reflection in mind, who are three people to whom you would like to spread light? Make an action plan for spreading light to these individuals.

Surprise a Friend

Put together a surprise gift basket for a friend or family member. Drop it off on their porch as a surprise.

Write Cards

Take an hour to write post-Chanukah cards to special people in your life. What message of light can you offer them as we move toward the secular new year?

Refugee Support

Help provide important resources to those who have come to this country looking for a little more light in their lives - Refugee Support Services distributes fresh vegetables and educational supplies each Wednesday at 11am. Learn more about contributing by texting RSSlove to 44321 or calling 980-263-9334

Family Activities:


It is hard for kids to not get caught up in the excitement of getting gifts, especially if it is your family’s tradition to have eight nights of gifts. Our suggestion for the theme of “Be the Shamash” is to set aside one night for kids to give rather than receive. Here are some ideas on how to make giving to those in need both fun and meaningful.


Hold a “Reverse” Gift Night: Challenge everyone in the family to find 8 toys or other items that they would be willing to donate. Pack them up together and deliver them to an organization that can use them.


Set aside an amount of money that you might have spent on presents and decide as a family on a non-profit to receive the money. With older kids, challenge kids to research organizations and vote on a winner.



Set a family Tzedakah goal and make a Tzedakah box to remind you of your goal by decorating a container with pictures from magazines, words or drawings.