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Why do we play Dreidel on Chanukah?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Holidays » Chanukah » The Customs | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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During the years leading up to the Chanukah miracle, teaching Torah was outlawed by the Greeks.

The Jewish children would go to the forests and study Torah, but would post a sentry to notify them if any Greek patrols were spotted. If any Greeks approached, the children would hide their texts and start playing with dreidels (spinning tops).

To commemorate this we play dreidel games on Chanukah.

Playing dreidel also symbolizes that throughout Chanukah we are constantly mindful and thankful of the incredible miracles which G-d did for us. In fact, we are thinking of the Chanukah miracles even when having fun and playing games! The letters on the dreidel stand for "A great Mircale happened there (or in Israel, here)".

TAGS: draidel

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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.