Thursday, December 18, 2014

How to Play Dreidel Game for Hanukkah

Dreidel is fun game that we love playing around Hanukkah. It is a simple fun family game. Want to learn how to play? Of course you do.


1. Dreidel
2. Gelt(chocolate coins wrapped in foil), M&M's, beans, or anything thing you like.

How many people do you need to play? You need at least 2 players and  you can have as many people as you like to play the dreidel game.
If you don't have a dreidel well don't fret cause you can make your own. Just google it and you will find many ways to make one.

Basic Rules: 
At the beginning of the game each player is given gelt, candy (we use M & M's), or you can use dried beans. I like to start with around 15 pieces in the middle.
At the beginning of each round, every one puts 1 piece into the center "pot." They then take turns spinning the dreidel, with the following meanings assigned to each of the Hebrew letters: 

*Nun (נ)-nischt - "nothing" - the next player spins 
*Gimmel (ג)-gantz - "all" - the player takes the entire pot
*Hey (ה)- halb - "half" - the player takes half of the pot, rounding up if there is an odd number
*Shin (ש)- shtel - "put in" - the player puts one or two in the pot

If a player runs out of game pieces they are "out."

Origins of the Dreidel:

A game similar to the dreidel game was popular during the rule of Antiochus. During this period Jews were not free to openly practice their religion, when they gathered to study Torah they would bring a top with them. If soldiers would appear, they would quickly hide what they were studying and pretend to be playing a gambling game with the top.

Meaning of the Hebrew Letters on a Dreidel:

A dreidel has one Hebrew letter on each side. Outside of Israel, those letters are: נ (Nun), ג (Gimmel), ה (Hay) and ש (Shin), which stand for the Hebrew phrase "Nes Gadol Haya Sham." This phrase means "A great miracle happened there [in Israel]."

After the State of Israel was founded in 1948 the Hebrew letters were changed for dreidels used in Israel. They became: נ (Nun), ג (Gimmel), ה (Hay) and פ (Pey), which stand for the Hebrew phrase "Nes Gadol Haya Po." This means "A great miracle happened here."
The miracle referred to in both versions of the Hebrew phrase is the miracle of the Hanukkah oil, which lasted for eight days instead of one.

Have fun playing dreidel!

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