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December 22, 1989 - Image 75

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

except for the Shammash — will go
on until we have satisfaction.
"(Signed) The Chanukah
The days rolled by and matters
got worse. People had never given
so much thought to plain everyday
things like candles until this had
come up. Chanukah was fast
approaching, and still no solution.
The candles had become silent and
refused to say a word. They all
refused to do their duty, except the
Shammash. The lowliest candle of
them all, the one who didn't even
have the right to stay on the same
level with the other candles in the
Menorah — he was the only one
who wasn't going to strike. But what
good would that do?
"Wait a minute!" someone
cried. "Let's talk to him. Let's go to
the Shammash candle. We'll plead;

we'll request; we'll do anything!"
So a small delegation, with
serious faces, came to the
Shammash. He received them
courteously, nodding his wick in
"Listen to our plea," said the
committee. "We are not worthy,
perhaps. But think of our children.
How will it be for them to grow up
in a world without Chanukah?"
And the Shammash promised.
He would talk to his fellow candles.
He couldn't promise anything, but
he would try. The people were
hopeful again, but nervous. It was
just one day to Chanukah.
The Shammash worked hard,
and at last two-thirds of the striking
candles relented. They would burn.
But the rest of the candles were
firm. The answer was no. They
would not shed a drop of tallow for

the cause.
Finally, the Shammash, weary
with pleading, straightened up and
"I am the most humble among
you. Each of you uses me to be lit
up. True, I am your servant, but you
can't get along without me. I am the
only one who can go from one
candle to another to light you. None
of you may change places. You
can't lower yourselves to light one
another. I am lit on each of the
eight days. I stay in my place and
do my duty without question. Now
then, I accuse you of trying to
destroy the holy festival of
Chanukah. And, on my oath as a
Shammash, I swear not to serve
you this Chanukah — or ever again.
Unless you break up your strike,
right now!"
The strike was over. Next day

was a happy day in the world.
Never had Chanukah been
celebrated with so much joy. In the
fight for keeping alive Chanukah,
the Shammash had fought like a
true Maccabee and had won new
glory. Tradition kept him from being
placed on the same level as the
other candles. True enough. But
who said he couldn't be higher than
all the rest?
That's where the people placed
him. And today, the Shammash in
many a menorah is placed a little
higher than the others. From his
position of honor he gladly
descends to do his duty.
Then he climbs back up, and
reminds the world that Chanukah is
a thrilling festival whose meaning
we must never forget.

Reprinted with permission
of More World Over Stories

Sarai's Star


Once upon a Kislev, there lived
a Queen and her daughter, Sarai.
As they placed together in the
courtyard one evening, the Queen
asked, "Sarai, what would you like
for Chanukah?"
Sarai smiled and said, "A star."
"A star?" asked the Queen.
"Yes," said Sarai. "just like that
shiny one that sparkles in the sky."
The Queen bit her lip becauSe
she didn't know how she would ever
get her daughter a star from the
Soon, they went into the castle
and ate supper.
When the meal was over, Sarai
moaned. "I ate too many latkes. I
don't feel well."
The Queen put her daughter to
bed and told her she would feel
better in the morning.
Then the Queen called for the
Prime Minister.
Within minutes, he appeared.
He was eating latkes.
"I thought you were busy
preparing to light the Menorah
candles!" snapped the Queen.
The Prime Minister blushed.
"Uh, I was lighting the stove for the
cook and he gave me some latkes
to eat. They are really good. You
should try them."
The Queen stamped her foot.
"Tomorrow is Chanukah," she said.
"Please get Sarai a star from the

The Prime Minister looked
puzzled. "I don't think I can do
that," he said, "but I can light the
menorah candles." And he left.
The Queen called for the
Within minutes he appeared.
He was eating latkes.
"I thought you were busy
writing a play about Hannah," said
the Queen, sharply. "How to be
brave and to be a good Jew."
The Scribe blushed. "Uh, I was
writing a recipe for the cook and he
gave me some latkes to eat. They
are delicious. Want one?"
The Queen stamped her foot.
"Tomorrow is Chanukah," she said.
"Please get Sarai a star from the
The Scribe looked puzzled. "I
don't think I can do that," he said,
"but I can write the play." And he

quickly left the room.
The Queen in the meantime
checked on her daughter and found
her asleep.
The Queen then called for the

The Queen became angry. "I
thought you were busy counting
Chanukah gelt for the children in
the village?" she snapped.
The mathematician blushed.
"Uh, I was counting the latkes for
the cook. I think there were 500
pancakes, But I ate 27. The Scribe
ate 15 and the Prime Minister ate
23. I wonder how many are left."

The Queen stamped her foot.
"Tomorrow is Chanukah," she said.
"Please get Sarai a star from the
The mathematician looked
puzzled. "Oh, I don't think I can do

that," he said. "but I can count the
Chanukah gelt." And out he ran.
The Queen paced back and
forth. She didn't know what to do.
As she walked down the hall,
she saw the Prime Minister, the
Scribe and the Mathematician
whispering to each other.
"I don't like secrets," snapped
the Queen. "Speak up!"
The men blushed. "We were
wondering where we could get more
latkes," they said, eagerly.
Just then, the Rebbetzn
The Queen ran over to her and
said. "You are such a wise woman.
Tomorrow is Chanukah. Sarai wants
a star. What should I do?"
The Rebbetzn smiled and
whispered something to the Queen.
The next day, the Queen went
to see Sarai.
She was sitting up in bed. "I
feel much better, Mother."
"I'm so happy to hear that,"
said the Queen, hugging her
Then the Queen removed a
chain from her own neck and gave
it to Sarai.
Sarai's eyes lit up. "A necklace
with a Star of David and it sparkles
just like the stars in the sky. This is
just what I wanted," she said as
everyone wished her a Happy

Reprinted with permission
of Shofar Magazine.



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