Dreidels

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The Dreidels Game

The dreidel is a Chanukah game, as a reminder Greek-Syrian decrees prohibiting the Jews to learn Torah. The children would secretly meet to learn, and when the soldiers appeared, they would quickly pull out their dreidels and pretend to be playing a game. A meaningful, significant and fun gift!

How to spin - and maybe win!

It’s Chanukah - time to play dreidel – the four-sided spinning top made of wood, glass, metal or even pure silver. Notice the letters on each of its four sides: Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Shin. These are the initial letters of the phrase “nes gadol hayah sham” – a great miracle happened there. In Israel, the shin is substituted by a pay– standing for poh – here - instead of a shin meaning there.

Here’s how you play. Divide equally between players coins, nuts, candies or whatever you decide to play with. Everyone puts one of their goodies in the “bank” in the center. Remember, If during the game the “bank” is empty, each player will again put in one of his goodies.

The game begins. The player on the right spins his dreidel. If it falls on a:

Nun – nil - he receives nothing, gives nothing and the next player spins.
Hey – half - he is entitled to take half the “bank”.
Gimmel – all - he has won the entire “bank”.
Shin – give - he must contribute one of his goodies to the “bank”.

The game continues. The next person spins and so on. The game is won when one person has acquired the “bank” and everyone else’s savings too. Nobody will be too distressed at losing the game because there will be plenty of goodies to compensate the losers.

Alternatively, have a contest to see who can spin it the longest. Or who can get the most dreidels spinning simultaneously.

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