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Chanukah Games

The Driedle (Sevivon)
Dreidel is a game of luck played with a spinning top called a dreidel, or Sevivon in Israel..

The dreidel is a four-sided spinning top with a different Hebrew letter on each side.

Outside of Israel, dreidels have the letters nun, gimel, hay, shin. These stand for "Nes Gadol Haya Sham" which means, "a great miracle happened there."

In Israel, dreidels have the letters nun, gimel, hay, pay. These stand for "Nes Gadol Haya Po" which means "a great miracle happened here."

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The Dreidel Tradition
The Dreidel is the most traditional game played on chanukah. The dreidel goes back to the time of the Syrians. The Syrians prohibited the Jews from studying Torah. When the Syrians saw a group of Jews together, they checked to see that they were not studying. The Jews would hide their books and take out their dreidels and trick the Syrians into thinking they were just playing a game

How to play.
It is a gambling game so some stakes are needed! Anything can be used, but it is often chocolate coins (chanukah gelt). All players get an equal amount of chocolate coins. All players put one coin in the pot in the center.

Then players take turns spinning the dreidel. The player acts according to the letter, which is facing up when the dreidel stops spinning.

If the dreidle lands on:

  • nun: Player does nothing
  • gimel: Player takes all the coins in the pot
  • hay: Player takes half of the coins in the pot
  • shin: Player must put one coin into the pot

The winner is the person with the most coins at the end of the game.

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