Day Four of the Miracle!

Four days, and the flame still flickers!

In Judaism it is important that the stories, the traditions, the beliefs and teachings of the sages be passed from generation to generation so that the Jewish people never forget that Hashem is our G-d. But how do you do that, pass on our stories, if the authorities forbid you to learn those stories, or to study the sacred writings and teachings? Well, one way was to design games of learning that to the outsider appeared to be simple games of chance, something the common folks would play. Children and youth would learn in secret, but when they heard the guards coming they would quickly hide their scrolls and bring out a game. And that brings us to the delightful dreidel game that has been played by Jewish children at Chanukah for centuries!

The dreidel is a four-sided spinning top. On each of its four sides is a Hebrew letter, forming the acronym for “Ness Gadol Haya Sham,” or “A Great Miracle Happened There,” thus insuring that as the children played, they would be reminded of the great miracle in the temple when the oil burned for eight days and nights. To play the game, everyone puts “gelt,” (money or tokens) in the pot. Each player takes a turn spinning the dreidel. If it lands on Nun, pass to the next player. If the dreidel lands on Gimmel, take the whole kitty. Land on the Hay, the player gets half the kitty, and if it lands on Shin, the player contributes to the kitty. When the kitty empties out, each player contributes equally back to the kitty once again. There is usually singing and laughter during the game, and every child knows the dreidel song by heart!

I have a little dreidel

I made it out of clay

And when it’s dry and ready

Then dreidel I shall play

CHORUS

Oh dreidel dreidel dreidel

I made it out of clay

And when it’s dry and ready

Then dreidel I shall play

It has a lovely body

With legs so short and thin

And when it is so tired

It drops and then I win!

CHORUS

My dreidel’s always playful

It loves to dance and spin

A happy game of dreidel

Come play now, let’s begin!

CHORUS

For some reason, this won’t embed properly. This is the best I could get it. Hopefully you will be able to enjoy it.

Blessed holidays to you all!

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12 thoughts on “Day Four of the Miracle!

  1. Cecelia, I was able to watch and listen to the “Swingin’ Dreidel” song. It fit perfectly into a commercial break with the TV on mute during “It’s a Wonderful Life” on NBC this Christmas Eve. I am so glad you are telling us about the meaning of Chanukah during your nights of celebration.

    1. Barbara, thank you so much. I have to smile when you tell me you watched the video during a commercial break of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I am happy to share my holiday with everyone. Have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.
      Shalom,
      Cecelia

    1. Thank you, Ariana! I’m glad you like the posts. Most people who read my blog know little about anything Jewish and I decided this would be a good way to share about our beliefs in the midst of all the Xmas goings on. Thanks for stopping by, and in the future I hope to share a lot more about our Jewish heritage and beliefs. Chag Chanukah Sameach! Happy Chanukah!

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