The rules of the game are easy. The players agree upon a number of coins to be located in the bank, and then each of the players takes their turn to twirl the spinning top. If one strikes נ (nun), then the player who has just spun the dreidel wins nothing since this is the first letter of the word nisht, which means nothing in Yiddish. A player rakes the pool after striking ג (gimel), which stands for gants – everything. Half of the stakes is won by a person who strikes ה (hei), which signifies halb – a half. One adds an extra coin to the bank when ש (shin) has been struck, the first letter of szteln – put it.

Surprisingly, dreidel has become a sports discipline in the USA. In 2007, the Major League Dreidel was founded in New York, which hosts annual dreidel competitions at Hanukkah.

 

Print