What you didn’t know about the dreidel

Wednesday, 5 December, 2018 - 1:03 pm

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Chanukah dreidls and coins red crop.jpg 

Why do we play with dreidels (spinning tops) on Chanukah? And how are dreidels relevant to our everyday lives when we aren’t kids anymore and have lost interest in sitting on the floor for hours and play?

Back in time, in the period of Chanukah, the Syrians forbade us from studying Torah. Yet, we did not obey. The young Jewish children would hide in caves in order to study. When they heard the soldiers approaching, they would quickly hide the books and pretend that they were playing with dreidels. In this way, they were not arrested and could continue to keep the spirit of Judaism alive. In order to remember their heroic commitment to The Torah, we play with dreidels every year on Chanukah.

Each of the 4 sides of the dreidels has a letter written on top: Nun, Guimel, Hey, Shin, which are the first letters of the words: Nes Gadol Haya Sham, a big miracle happened there. When the dreidel is spinning fast, we cannot distinguish the letters, because of the speed. Only when the dreidel stops and rests can we read about the miracle.

The same happens in our life. Many times, we run so fast that we don’t have time to even think about what is happening to us. We need, every once in a while, to stop and pay attention to the miracles that fill up our lives.

As Albert Einstein said: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Sameach!


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