shamash (shah-MAHSH) listen


  • n. The caretaker of a synagogue.

  • n. Personal assistant / aide / gofer, especially to a rabbi or in the Hollywood entertainment industry.

  • n. Candle lit first and then used to light other hanukah candles.

Example Sentences

  • "The shamash is going to order new siddurim."

  • "For the first night, we will need one candle and a shamash."

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Yiddish


  • Heb שמש shamásh, Yiddish שמשׂ shámes

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
      • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      shammos, schammos, shames

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