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A dreidel or dreidl ( DRAY-dəl; Yiddish: דרײדל‎, romanized: dreydl, plural: dreydlekh; Hebrew: סביבון‎, romanized: sevivon) is a four-sided spinning top, played during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet:נ (nun),ג (gimel),ה (hei),ש (shin).These letters are translated in Yiddish to a mnemonic for the rules of a gambling game played with a dreidel: Nun stands for the Yiddish word nisht ("nothing"), Gimel for gants ("all"), Hei for halb ("half"), and Shin for shtel ayn ("put in"). However, they represent the Hebrew phrase nes gadol hayah sham ("a great miracle happened there"), referring to the Miracle of the cruse of oil. For this reason, most dreidels in Israel replace the letter Shin with a letter פ (pe),to represent the phrase nes

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  • A dreidel or dreidl ( DRAY-dəl; Yiddish: דרײדל‎, romanized: dreydl, plural: dreydlekh; Hebrew: סביבון‎, romanized: sevivon) is a four-sided spinning top, played during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet:נ (nun),ג (gimel),ה (hei),ש (shin).These letters are translated in Yiddish to a mnemonic for the rules of a gambling game played with a dreidel: Nun stands for the Yiddish word nisht ("nothing"), Gimel for gants ("all"), Hei for halb ("half"), and Shin for shtel ayn ("put in"). However, they represent the Hebrew phrase nes gadol hayah sham ("a great miracle happened there"), referring to the Miracle of the cruse of oil. For this reason, most dreidels in Israel replace the letter Shin with a letter פ (pe),to represent the phrase nes
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  • Dreidel
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  • A dreidel or dreidl ( DRAY-dəl; Yiddish: דרײדל‎, romanized: dreydl, plural: dreydlekh; Hebrew: סביבון‎, romanized: sevivon) is a four-sided spinning top, played during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet:נ (nun),ג (gimel),ה (hei),ש (shin).These letters are translated in Yiddish to a mnemonic for the rules of a gambling game played with a dreidel: Nun stands for the Yiddish word nisht ("nothing"), Gimel for gants ("all"), Hei for halb ("half"), and Shin for shtel ayn ("put in"). However, they represent the Hebrew phrase nes gadol hayah sham ("a great miracle happened there"), referring to the Miracle of the cruse of oil. For this reason, most dreidels in Israel replace the letter Shin with a letter פ (pe),to represent the phrase nes gadol hayah poh ("a great miracle happened here"),; however, many Haredi communities insist that the letter Shin should be used in the Holy Land as well, because the reference to "there" means in the Holy Temple and not in the Land. While not mandated (a mitzvah) for Hanukkah (the only traditional mitzvot are lighting candles and saying the full hallel), spinning the dreidel is a traditional game played during the holiday. Astronaut Jeffrey A. Hoffman spun a dreidel for an hour in outer space.
  • A dreidel or dreidl ( DRAY-dəl; Yiddish: דרײדל‎, romanized: dreydl, plural: dreydlekh; Hebrew: סביבון‎, romanized: sevivon) is a four-sided spinning top, played during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet:נ (nun),ג (gimel),ה (hei),ש (shin).These letters are translated in Yiddish to a mnemonic for the rules of a gambling game played with a dreidel: Nun stands for the Yiddish word nisht ("nothing"), Gimel for gants ("all"), Hei for halb ("half"), and Shin for shtel ayn ("put in"). However, they represent the Hebrew phrase nes gadol hayah sham ("a great miracle happened there"), referring to the Miracle of the cruse of oil. For this reason, most dreidels in Israel replace the letter Shin with a letter פ (pe),to represent the phrase nes gadol hayah poh ("a great miracle happened here"),; however, many Haredi communities insist that the letter Shin should be used in the Holy Land as well, because the reference to "there" means in the Holy Temple and not in the Land. While not mandated (a mitzvah) for Hanukkah (the only traditional mitzvot are lighting candles and saying the full hallel), spinning the dreidel is a traditional game played during the holiday. Astronaut Jeffrey A. Hoffman spun a dreidel for an hour in outer space. which was popular around Christmas time and dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times. The teetotum was inscribed with letters denoting the Latin words for “nothing,” “half,” “everything” and “put in.” In German this came to be called a trendel, with German letters for the same concepts. Adapted to the Hebrew alphabet when Jews adopted the game, these letters were replaced by shin (=shtel ayn, put in); nun (=nicht, not, i.e., nothing); gimel (=ganz, whole/everything); and he (=halb, half). The letters served as a means to recalling the rules of the game. This theory states that when the game spread to Jewish communities unfamiliar with Yiddish, the denotations of the Hebrew letters were not understood. As a result, there arose Jewish traditions to explain their assumed meaning. However, in Judaism there are often multiple explanations developed for words. A popular conjecture had it that the letters abbreviated the words "nes gadol haya sham" (a great miracle happened there), an idea that became attached to dreidels when the game entered into Hanukkah festivities. According to a tradition first documented in 1890, the game was developed by Jews who illegally studied the Torah in seclusion as they hid, sometimes in caves, from the Seleucids under Antiochus IV. At the first sign of Seleucids approaching, their Torah scrolls would be concealed and be replaced by dreidels. The variant names goyrl (destiny) and varfl (a little throw) were also current in Yiddish until the Holocaust. In the wake of Zionism, the dreidel was renamed sevivon in modern Hebrew, and the letters altered, with shin generally replaced by pe. This yields the reading nes gadol haya po (a great miracle happened here.')
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