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  • Marjorie Borell

The Reluctant Shamash

Updated: Dec 14, 2020


Majestic Shamash

Aloft on the dais

At the center of the menorah

For other candles look up to


Bestowed with the privilege

Of lighting the lowliers flickering by its sides.

The first candle lit, and ninth in line

The servant candle emits it’s special light,

No other could be as worthy.


An assignment

Not asked for or elected to be

Like a guardian

Looking out for its charges

For eight straight nights

Held as its melting fire

Dubs each wick

In line to be ignited.


A ritual not chosen but rather bestowed

Unable to be relinquished, resigned or unowned

But even the most devoted of keeper of the flame

Needs a Shabbos nap now and then


But the Shamash at Hanukkah,

Has eight evenings more, to illuminate our prayer

With dignity and joy.


So when can the Shamash finally rest?

Not until Hanukkah next

The dutiful Shamash has until next year

To rekindle its strength and then reappear.

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