One of my Jewish friends gave me a very special compliment week during Hanukkah. Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights celebrating the miracle of one day of candle oil lasting eight days. The occasion of the miracle was the recapturing the Holy Temple of Jerusalem from the Greeks (2nd century BCE) and lighting of the temple’s menorah. This is recreated each year in winter as the candles of the menorah are lighted one for each night.
The compliment came as a description from this friend who knows me and my dedication to helping others and trying to inspire people to thrive. He called me a “Shamash.” This is the name of the candle that is used to ritually light each of the other candles on the menorah until all of them are shining brightly on the eight night.
To refer to another person as a “shamash” is unusual but he meant it in the context that he knows me as a person who lights the flame in other people. I share the light. What a beautiful concept. It is difficult sometimes to accept a compliment. Especially when we do not feel we have earned it. But this particular compliment touched my heart in a special way. I was being recognized for my true intention as a helper in this world.
May I pass this compliment on to you. As a reader of my articles, I know that you are a person who seeks inspiration. And most likely shares that inspiration with others. Be a “Shamash.” Be the candle who lights others. It is a wonderful way to live. We need more of them in this world. It can be remarkably easy to pay it forward in this life through simple acts. Sister Mary Helen, my elementary school principal, used to say: “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours!”