Friday, December 23, 2016

The Middle Candle: a Chanukah Story

Let's hear it for the most important candle on the menorah.
     It's not too often “the middle one” gets to go first. But during Chanukah that all changes. Every night, for eight nights, it's the middle candle that gets lit first. Without it, no other candles get lit. That's a big deal. I mean, if it weren’t for the middle candle, all those other candles would just be sitting there. What kind of Chanukah would that be?
     The middle candle is also the only candle that has an actual name. It’s called the shammash. All the other candles? Nobody even knows what they’re called. They have names like 3 and 5. And while that’s an all too familiar feeling for many Middle Children, it’s nice to see the shoe on the other foot for a change. Even if it’s only a candle. And yes, I realize candles don’t have feet, and therefore no shoes, so maybe that wasn’t the best metaphor. But you get the point.
     Shammash is Hebrew for servant, so the middle candle is thought of as a mere “helper” candle by many -- probably a lot of first and last borns. But let me ask you this: if the middle candle is simply some second class candle, how come it gets to sit on the highest perch of the menorah? That's clearly the best seat in the house! A special place, well above it’s less favorite brothers and sisters. I mean candles. No, the middle candle is clearly the most important one on the menorah. And that is the real miracle of Chanukah.

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Middle Children need to be heard!