How to Play the Game of Dreidel

This year has really flown by and the end of the year is coming up really quickly! Hanukkah is approaching quickly and one of the things that you do around Hanukkah is play the game of dreidel. If you didn’t know the reasoning for playing the game of dreidel during this holiday, I am here to let you in on why that is!
Many years ago teaching the Torah was forbidden by the Greeks. Jewish children would go to forests and study their Torah anyway, however being nervous that they would be caught by the greeks, they had a lookout who informed them if they were coming and when they did come, the children hid their Torah and pulled out “tops” or dreidels and just pretended as if they were up there playing. Now, we play dreidel during Hanukkah to celebrate this.
If you don’t know how to play the game of dreidel, I am going to explain it to you because it really is a fun game to play! When it comes to playing the game of dreidel, you will need at least one other person to play but you can actually have as many as you would like to play! So here is the rules and how to play Dreidel!
How to Play the Game of Dreidel(1)
Step 1: Before each person’s turn they will have to put a coin into the center to create the pot. Once the pot is emptied or has gotten down to one coin, each player will have to put another coin into the pot to build the pot back up.
Step 2: Each person will take turns spinning the dreidel. Depending on which side the dreidel lands on makes the decision of whether you win, lose, or draw. If your dreidel lands on the side that says Shin, which means “put in” in Yiddish, results in you having to put one of your coins into the pot. If your dreidel lands on the side that says Nun, which means “nothing”, this means that you do nothing. If your dreidel lands on the side that says Gimme, which means “everything”, you get to take all of the coins that are in the pot. Finally, if your dreidel lands on the side that says Hay, which means half, you get to take half of the coins in the pot.
Step 3: When your turn is finished, you will pass the dreidel onto to the next person. Just keep rotating throughout the group until someone collects all of the coins. Once a person runs out of coins they are considered out of the game.
Dreidel is such a simple game, but it is really fun! It can definitely become a competitive game because you’re relying simply on chance! I hope you learned something today if you didn’t already know how to play, and give this game a whirl this year!


Amy Schaffner

Ha! I’ve actually always wondered this!

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