History Of The DriedelThe Driedel is a spinning top used by children to play a game during the Jewish holiday of Hanukah. The eight days of Hanukah, are celebrated every year on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev.
It is believed that the Dreidel game originated in Germany. The word Dreidel is Yiddish for Spinning Top. The Dreidel itself is a four sided top. Each of the four sides has a separate Hebrew letter: Nun, Gimel, Hay and Shin. It is believed that these letters are used because they form the first letters from the phrase: "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham" which translates "A Great Miracle Happened There." In Israel, the phrase is translated "A Great Miracle Happened Here."
The letters are also the first letters of Yiddish words which establish the basis for the rules of Dreidel game. The letter Nun starts the Yiddish word Nisht, which means Nothing. The Gimel starts the Yiddish word Gantz which translates as All. The Hay produces the Yiddish word Halb, meaning Half, and the Shin is the beginning of Shtel, which translates Put In.
Modem Jewish children usually play the Dreidel game by gambling for peanuts, pennies or even Hanukah Gelt (money) which is often in the form of gold-foil wrapped chocolate. Anything will do, however, as the sport is in the gm=, and not the winnings!
In the traditional version of play, Gimel Takes All, each player starts with the same number of pieces, and each puts one to the Pot.
The players take turns spinning the Dreidel. If the spinning players gets Nun, they get Nothing from the Pot. If they spin Shin, it means Put In, and they must add one piece to the Pot. If Hay is spun, that player can take Half the Pot, and if they are lucky to spin Gimmel, they get the whole pot, and everyone must put into the pot one more time, and the game goes on.