THE DREIDL

The Dreidl's four sides

 

----Click image above to zoom in----
Dreidl loaned by Susan and David Vileta


The four letters on the four sides of the dreidl are
the initial letters of the Hebrew phrase:

...meaning, "A great miracle happened there", referring to the miracle of the temple light burning for eight days with only one day's supply of oil.

The same initial letters also stand, in Yiddish, for the four actions to be taken depending on the spin of the dreidl. The players each start with an equal number of coins, matches, tokens, or whatever they agree to play with, and each puts the same number in the pot.

The players spin in turn, and do what is indicated by the letter which is uppermost when the dreidl stops.

= N = Nichts - the player does nothing

= G = Ganz - take everything from the pot

= H = Halb - take half from the pot

= Sh = Shtel - put one in the pot

There is no standard way of Romanizing Yiddish, which is normally written with Hebrew characters, so the spelling may vary in usage.

 

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