Happy Hanukkah! Hanukkah is a holiday of joy, to celebrate a miracle. While today we point to the miracle of the lights, the original miracle was the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks. In this time of darkness for many people, we can take heart from both miracles. And as you will see below, there is a surprising connection between Hanukkah and self esteem.
Whether or not you are Jewish, there is a Mussar practice I am going to share that I think you will find meaningful.
****Here’s the Practice*****
Be a shamus to light other peoples flame
In Hanukkah, we light candles for eight nights. We don’t light the candles directly. First we light the shamus, a candle on a higher level than the others. Then, we use the shamus to light the other candles. In this practice, you will become a shamus, to light other people’s flame. The shamus is a servant, and thus when we seek to light another’s flame, we do so from a place of serving another.
This idea of lighting another’s flame my seem a bit abstract. I think of it as being an inspiration to others, to help them achieve more in the world. To bring it more down to earth, let’s put it in the context of the soul trait of Humility. Remember that Humility is about occupying your proper place in the universe, a balance between arrogance and self-abasement. Inspiring others requires “occupying more space,” that is moving more towards the arrogance side of the spectrum.
You might ask yourself, “Who am I to inspire others?” The answer is that you are a soul in the Divine image. You can be an inspiration, even if you normally hold yourself back from a lack of self-esteem.
You can be a light by leading by example, or better yet, by serving. How can you help someone else achieve their dream? It doesn’t need to be a Martin Luther King level dream. It can be something simple, like helping achieve a night of peace in the home. Or if your spouse is always asking you to stay off your phone, you can put it away for an evening and focus on being present.
Hanukkah is a holiday of joy and celebration. Take this occasion to be a light to others and help them bring more joy and goodness to the world.
It is easy to be distracted by the commercial aspects of Hanukkah and Christmas. And it is very easy to let the holidays add to the overwhelm many of us are feeling. I hope you’ll take this opportunity to slow down, and take a moment to light other people’s flames. Serving can be far more fulfilling than leading.
Want to find out which parts of our Soul cause you to get in the way of serving others, or lead you to serve others too much at the expense of yourself? Click here to take the Soul Trait Quiz now.