_______ November 28, 2016 ________

Happy Hanukkah!

Day Six: More Four of Dreidle

Dreidle (besides the menorah) is probably the most widely known part of Hanukkah.  It’s a game the family plays together – they use chocolate coins – called ‘gelt’ – as the prize the children to play for.  ((We use Cheerios or Skittles, and give the gelt as ‘prizes’ at the end.))  So… why driedle?

Over two thousand years ago, the game was originally a way for Jews to hide their studying at a time when Torah study was prohibited. Hanukkah is a celebration of religious freedom – and the Dreidle symbolizes that time when there was none, and helps us to appreciate the fact that we don’t HAVE to hide our faith (right now, anyway…). Playing dreidel is a fun way to celebrate the holiday, create family memories, and strengthen our children’s Jewish identities.  I have read even more than that, this year, though.  From ‘Maschiach is Coming‘:

The four sides of the dreidel have the letters, Nun, Gimel, Shin, Hey. These stand for the four forces in a person. Nefesh/heart = Nun, Guf/strength = Gimel, Sechel/mind = Shin, and HaKol-Hey/higher spirituality. The four empires of Babylon, Greece, Rome, and Medo-Persia each opposed a specific one of these forces.  Moshiach, whose gematria is 358 the same as Nun, Gimel, Shin, Hey, will annul these forces forever. Then Hashem’s reign will be accepted by all.

Did you see that?  Remember Mark 12:30?  “Thou shalt love the Lord with all of your HEART, SOUL, MIND, and STRENGTH?”  It’s More Four!  ((I have a sidebar on this site FULL of ‘More Four’!))  I didn’t apply it to the dreidel, though!  Amazing… since the dreidle was around WAY before Messiah said those words.  Yet they are found in His statement!  Isn’t that kewl?!  I don’t know which empire goes to which attribute, but I’d guess Babylon/spiritual, Greece/mind, Medo-Persia/strength, and Rome/heart.  I had NEVER heard that before… it’s totally new to me.  So I had to share!!

Okay, but back to the actual playing of ‘dreidle’.
As for the words of the Song:

I Have A Little Dreidel

I have a little dreidel,
I made it out of clay
And when it’s dry and ready,
Then dreidel I shall play!

Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,
I made it out of clay;
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,
Then dreidel I shall play.

It has a lovely body,
With legs so short and thin
And when it gets all tired,
It drops and then I win!

Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,
With leg so short and thin,
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel,
It drops and then I win!

Anyhoooo… are you ready to play the game?
Difficulty Level: easy
Time Required: Average playing time is 20-40 minutes.
Directions:  Print paper dreidle pattern from here.
Fold on black lines, gluing to form 3D shape.
Here’s How: All players get an equal amount of pennies,
chocolate coins (gelt), candies, raisins, or tokens.
  1. All players put one token in the pot in the center.
  2. The dreidel is a four sided spinning top with a different Hebrew letter on each side. Players take turns spinning the dreidel.  Two year olds and grandparents can spin and yell “gimel, gimel, gimel.”
  3. The player acts according to the letter which is facing up when the dreidel stops spinning.
  4. nun: player does nothing
  5. gimel: player takes all the tokens in the pot
  6. hay: player takes half of the tokens in the pot
  7. shin: player must put one token into the pot
  8. The winner is the one with the most tokens.

Our dreidle was metal and tiny – roughly the size of a thimble, and hard to read/spin.  But this year Brian had time off over Thanksgiving and wanted a road trip, so we went to Bronner’s (World’s largest x-mess store), and got a package of bigger, wooden dreidles.  Should make playing this year more fun!Also, now that I have Shalom Sesame on video, here’s a dreidle playing clip for you:

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