Spiderman vs. the Shammas – A Late Hanukkah Post

Somewhere around the fourth night of Hanukkah, my four year old boy came up with a pressing question.

“Who is more powerful,” he asked. “Spiderman or the Shammas.”

The shammas is the Hanukkah candle that is lit first and used to light all of the other candles on the menorah. Spiderman needs no introduction.  I am not sure how he learned about Spiderman, but I think it was word of mouth from another child at pre-school.

I was stumped.

“Who?”  he pressed. “Because the Shammas can’t climb up bridges,  right?” he said.

I decided to go for some professional intervention and sent an email to a fabulous friend from college who is now a rabbi.  She answered nearly immediately from her iPhone while stuck in traffic. She was the passenger.

She wrote, “Wow, that is a really tough call!  The shammas has no spidey senses.  But Spiderman doesn’t carry the charge of lighting all the other candles & bringing on Chanukah each night.”

My son mulled the answer.  I loved that his first question for a rabbi was answered quickly, by a woman, via iPhone. The world is changing.

“And is the shammas older,” he asked.

That was an easy one. “Yes, much older.” I said.

And with that he started to run around the living room singing, “shammas wins, shammas wins” and I would say that was one of my favorite 2011 Hanukkah moment.


  1. Schmuel Mordechai

    What a lovely story.

  2. that is at least eleventy kinds of awesome 🙂 glad to “meet” you!

  3. I love that, Tanya! Well told, and very fun with joy and meaning, and magic!. Happy Thanksgiving!

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