The Legend Behind The Hanukkah Dreidel

The Legend Behind The Hanukkah Dreidel

The letters on the four sides of a dreidel-nun, gimel, hey, and shin-form an acronym for the Hebrew phrase, "A great miracle happened there." The miracle refers to the ancient story of the candles in a Jewish temple in Jerusalem. After driving out the soldiers of the Seleucid Empire, which had outlawed Judaism, the Maccabean Jews found that they had enough oil to light the candles in the menorah for only one day. However, it's said that the candles burned for a full eight days, giving the Jews time to produce more oil.


Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    The word "dreidel" comes from the Yiddish word "dreyen," which means "to spin." (0:49)

  • 2

    According to Jewish legend, the dreidel was originally used as a ploy to fool Greek soldiers. (1:39)

  • 3

    Major League Dreidel has hosted tournaments in multiple cities. (3:29)

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