Israel and the Diaspora Jewish Holidays

Hannukah, Night Six

Written by my friend Aaron Gann, reproduced here with permission.

Today on the sixth day of Hannukah, let us continue our focus on the Servant of The Lord, Yeshua The Messiah by talking about the Shamash.

Every night when we celebrate this holiday, we light the menorah, adding lights each night. To light these candles, one may not use any simple fire, nor may each candle simply light one another. Instead, the lights must be lit by a special candle, that which is called the Shamash. The word Shamash means “helper” or “servant” and its primary responsibility is to serve the other candles by kindling them.

Yeshua said to His disciples that they were to serve one another, just as He came not to be served, but to serve. That He who would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, must be the servant of all. So too does the Shamash teach us this, for it is elevated above the other candles. Placed higher than the rest would seem to indicate a higher status, and yet it is not counted among the candles, instead it is lit every night in order to light others. This is servant leadership, which Yeshua exemplified. He is the Servant of The Lord who came to kindle our souls, awaken that which was dead to new life.

The Shamash also gives us another example of The Lord. Another name for this candle is the HELPER candle. Shortly before our Lord was executed, He told His disciples that when He left them, He would ask His Father to send the Helper. This Helper, which is also known as the Holy Spirit, is described in this passage as having two primary purposes. The first is to teach them all things, and secondly to bring to remembrance the things they had learned from Him.

The Shamash, though a picture of Messiah, is also a picture of His Holy Spirit which lives in the hearts of all believers. For it is He who brings to us the remembrance of the things of Messiah, just as the Shamash lights the candles for us to remember the story of Hanukkah. Just as the lights shine in the darkness, kindled by the Shamash. So too are we now children of Light, kindled by The Spirit of Truth.

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