Parshat Vayeshev: The Shamash
וְלֹֽא־זָכַ֧ר שַֽׂר־הַמַּשְׁקִ֛ים אֶת־יוֹסֵ֖ף וַיִּשְׁכָּחֵֽהוּ׃
“Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph; he forgot him.”
All of us stand on the shoulders of giants. I would venture to guess that none of us got to where we are without the help of a friend, family member, teacher or even stranger. The cupbearer here, upon reaching his desired station in life, forgot entirely the friend in prison who saved him from despair in his time of need. We can’t blame him, though. This is typical in us human beings who get distracted by the comfort of a moment’s respite from trial and struggle.
Have you ever wondered what the most important candle of the hanukkiah is? It is the shamash,the”helper candle” that lights the others. Without it, the candles would remain unlit. Who brought light to you in a dark time?Whohelped you get to where you are today? Whose flame helps light up your soul?
It’s easy to overlook the shamash especially in a full, glowing hanukkiah. It’s easy to forget the guiding lights who brought us to where we are today, especially when we are blessed with comfort and ease. Let’s not overlook the shamash this year. Over the eight days of Hanukkah, I’ll challenge us to reach out to those guiding lights in our lives, and let them know we have not forgotten them. Like them, let us uplift others, and be a light for those who need it.