What are dreidels? Dreidels, also spelled driedles, are spinning tops with four sides that are played during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each side of the driedel features a Hebrew letter, Nun, Gimmel, Hey, and Shin. Each letter is the first letter of the words in the phrase 'a great miracle happened there.' This refers to the miracles of Chanukah that are celebrated during this Jewish Holiday.
What is Hanukkah? Hanukkah is referred to as the festival of lights and celebrates the Jewish victory over the Greeks during the time of the Second Temple. The Jews were being persecuted and were not able to study Torah, so even though they were small in numbers they fought their oppressors and came out on top. The second miracle of Hanukah is that the remaining drop of oil in the temple was meant to last for one night, but for some reason lasted eight nights. These miracles are celebrated by lighting a eight branched Menorah for eight nights and playing dreidel with friends.
World of Judaica has an extensive collection of dreidels for sale. Dreidels are the perfect Jewish gift for Hanukkah. If you are in the market to buy a dreidel, keep in mind that dreidels can come in wood, plastic, and more sophisticated glass materials. The plastic dreidels are sold in bulk sets in order to play the game with a group.
When looking for dreidels, check out Menorahs for sale and our matchboxes collection. Be sure to read our Hanukkah learning page for more information about this Jewish holiday.
The Dreidel Game
The Dreidel game is one of the most well-known games associated with Judaism, specifically with Hanukkah. This game actually served as a way to save the lives of Jewish children during the rule of the Syrian-Greeks who banned the study of Torah during the period of time during which the events of the Hanukkah story occurred. The game is now played in remembrance of the extreme measures taken to ensure that the knowledge of the Torah would not be forgotten.
What is a Dreidel?
A Dreidel is a four-sided top that has a Hebrew letter on each side. The combinations of letters consist of Nun Gimmel Hey, Shin, or Nun Gimmel, Hey, Peh. The Hebrew letters are acronyms for a phrases “Nes Gadol Haya Sham” and “Nes Gadol Haya Poh”, which refer to the miracles of Hanukkah, both regarding the oil and them miraculous military victory the Maccabees had over the Greeks. The difference between the two phrases is that the first version is common on Dreidels made outside of Israel while the second appears on Dreidels made in Israel. The Dreidel also has a tall spinner and has a pointed bottom.
Dreidels can be made of almost any material imaginable. The most common Dreidels are made from wood or plastic. Less common Dreidels are made from precious metals such as nickel, silver, pewter or copper or materials such as crystal.
Dreidels are usually brightly colored and come in shades of blue, green, red, purple, yellow and pink amongst many other colors as well as in striped patterns. The Hebrew similarly can be in any color and are usually above, below or surrounded by depictions of Jerusalem, the Seven Species and Menorahs that are likewise usually brightly colored. In addition, the Dreidel can be shaped like Stars of David, crowns, spirals or flowers.
Metal Dreidels that are made from sterling silver, pewter and copper are often decorated with the same decorations as those made from other materials but may also feature decorations such as filigree scrollwork and Hamsas. These Dreidels also frequently feature small crystals and stones in colors such as blue, purple and red.