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How to Play Dreidel

December 01, 2017

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You probably all know the dreidel song, but have you ever played? Playing dreidel is a traditional Hanukkah pastime, and can be loads of fun. Find out more in How to Play Dreidel.

Dreidel is a traditional Hanukkah gameDreidel is a traditional Hanukkah game

What is a Dreidel?

A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top that is traditionally played during Hanukkah, which is a Jewish holiday that takes place over the course of December. Each side of the dreidel displays a letter from the Hebrew alphabet, allowing for dreidels to be used as a game. The letters (Nun, Shin,Gantz and Hey) stand for these words: Nothing, Put In, All and Half.

Each side has a different Hebrew LetterEach side has a different Hebrew Letter

What You Need

You will need a dreidel (of course!) They can be bought or made and are sometimes made from wood or clay. You also need something to trade, like nuts, chocolate, pennies or candies. Every player needs about 10-15 pieces. You might also need a couple of friends, any number of people can play!

The Rules

Dreidel is essentially a simple gambling game, here’s how you play:

  • Each player starts with an even number of pieces (10-15 pieces of candy, pennies or whatever you choose)
  • At the beginning of each round every player puts a piece in the center (“the pot”)
  • Every time it’s your turn you spin the dreidel once, depending on the outcome you give to or get pieces from the pot. If you get “Nun” (for “Nischt” meaning Nothing) then you do nothing. If you get “Gimmel” (for “Gantz” meaning “Everything”) then you get the entire pot. If you get “Hey” (for “Halb” meaning “Half”) then you get half the pot. If you get “Shin”(for “shtetl”) it means add a piece to the pot.
  • If you have no game pieces left, then you’re out. You can ask another player for a “loan” if you wish.
  • When one person has the entire pot, the game is over!

A dreidel is a four sided spinning topA dreidel is a four sided spinning top

Check out "The Dreidel Song" Below!

 

Have Your Say

Have you played dreidel before? Let us know in the comments section below.