Ask The Rabbi

I Had a Little Dreidle

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Topic: Chanukah, Dreidel, Origin

Caren from Indianapolis, Indiana wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

How does the dreidle (four-sided spinning top) fit in with the story of Chanukah? My theory is that since Jews were not allow to congregate, but they were allowed to play Greek games, they pretended to play this game while they planned their next move. Am I even close?

Dear Caren,

Close but no dreidle! The ancient Greeks forbade studying the Torah, so the people would gather together in secret. If the Greeks interrupted them, they would pull out the dreidels and pretend that they had gathered to gamble.

For deeper meanings of the dreidel, see "The Secret of the Dreidel" at the Ohr Somayach Web Site.

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