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One of our favorite mistakes, and the action that continues to inspire fan email two years later, is that we lit candles with a “second shamash” in our Candlelight video. For those who didn’t notice, at one point in the video, one of our singers lit a Chanukkah menorah which already had eight candles and one shamash in it, making it ten candles total. There is nothing halakhically wrong with this, but it is slightly unusual.
The answer is pretty simple: We lit the menorah that way mostly for dramatic and artistic effect.
However, you should know that the main use of a shamash is to act as a light which can be used for benefit since it is prohibited to use the other candles for such a purpose. For example, an oil menorah (which is very common) is not, and cannot be lit by the oil shamash. An outside candle is used, just like we did in our video.