Chanukah and the Draydel

Let’s talk about draydels… you can spell it “draydel” or “dreidel”.
Do you know what a draydel is? Well, first of all, it is a four sided dancing top. Give it a twist, and it will dance and spin and prance and pirouette and when it’s out of energy,
The momentum will slow and the dancer will bow and then ever so gently fall – plop! On it’s NUN, GIMEL, Hay or SHIN side up.

Secondly, the dancing top has a magnificent story to tell us. Each of it’s four sides has one Hebrew letter. These letters stand for the Hebrew words “Nes Gadol Hayah Shim” – in English, this means “A great Miracle happened there.”

Tiny Israel, over 2000 years ago, was conquered by the Syrians (Greeks). The Israelis were not allowed to study Torah, circumcise their sons, learn Hebrew or practice their religion. After many, many years of this, a priestly family of Hasmonions from the little city of Mo’adim north of Jerusalem, started a revolution and after 3 years of “gorilla” warfare, they were able to take their country back! They were now free to worship G-d as they chose. They rededicated their Temple (chanukah means dedicate) and the story goes that there was only one bottle of consecrated oil to light the menorah in thev Temple – enough to last only one day. It is said it lasted a full eight days until more could be made!
That was the miracle. To me, the miracle was that a small dedicated-to G-d-and-His- Word group of soldiers won over the mighty army of their enemies!! We, as Believers today, have the same authority to win over the evil one in our lives. We can take back what we have lost and rededicate ourselves to the Lord! Isn’t that a great miracle?

These four letters make up a sprightly Chanukah game. Set a time limit for how long you want to play. Fifteen minutes might be right. Each player places an equal number of wrapped candies or ? in the center of a table. Seven would be good. Then the players sit around the table and take turns spinning the top and follows the instructions according to which letter is on top when the draydel stops.

NUN = nothing The player neither wins or loses anything.
GIMMEL = gets all
HAY = half goes back in the center of the table
SHIN = share, or put all you have back into the center of the table

Have fun and remember the real miracle!


From “The Source for Everything Jewish” and fjc 12/4/12

Shalom,                                                                                                       Sharaka



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