29 December 2015
I think it’s safe to say that the world seems pretty crazy right now. Every day, we turn on the news or look through our Facebook feeds and see a lot of tragedies. Shootings in America, stabbings in Israel, environmental disasters worldwide…the list, unfortunately, goes on and on. It’s easy to get discouraged about the state of the world. There seem to be infinite things that desperately need fixing, and each of us can only do so much, while still living our very busy lives.
So what do we do?
There are the little things – we can share the news that we hear with others, spreading awareness about the things that matter to us. We can seek out stories of positive change, of the people who are trying to do something about the problems facing the world, and share those too. We can give of our money, and of our time, to the causes that we support – and that support us.
We recently finished celebrating Chanukah. On each of the holiday’s eight nights, Jewish people around the world light a menorah, an eight-branched lamp that we place in our windows. Every night, we add a light, always using the same candle. It’s called the shamash, the attendant, or helper candle, and we use it to light all of the others. One of the amazing things about this process is that the light of the shamash never diminishes, no matter how much of it is given away to the other candles. Each one desperately needs help to be lit, and it’s the job of the shamash to help the other candles along, while maintaining its own light at the same time.
As we look forward to 2016, let’s remember to look back at Chanukah. Each of us is a shamash. We have a role to play, bringing extra light to the world through our actions, and helping others to find their own lights. It can be easy to get bogged down with the countless things that all of us have to do – homework, jobs, college applications, sports practices, helping around the house. But just as the light of the shamash spreads itself around without diminishing, we always have a little extra light that we can bring to someone else. In 2016, my wish for the world is that each of us finds a place to share our light.
Happy New Year!