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What is the Significance of Dreidels?

 

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One of the harshest decrees the Greeks made against the Jews was that they were forbidden from studying their holy Torah. One way they managed to study in private was to have children play with spinning tops (dreidels) outside the places of learning and this would be a distraction for the Greek army enforcing their laws.

A deeper source says that this dreidel also symbolizes the nature of the miracle. On Purim we play with the grogger. Since the miracle of Purim was a hidden miracle the grogger symbolizes this by having the hand below turning the grogger from underneath, in a hidden way, as G-d turned the events in a hidden fashion.

However on Chanukah we are celebrating the open miracle of the story, so the dreidel represents that by having the hand on top turning it around, it symbolizes G-d turning the events of the story in an open and revealed fashion.

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About Rabbi Lawrence

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Originally from London, England, Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff graduated with honors in political science from Manchester University. After working for MTV in news production, and moonlighting as a stand-up comedian, he traveled to study in Israel and then Monsey to receive his rabbinical smicha from Yeshiva Ohr Somayach. Rabbi Lawrence is available for speaking engagements, just email us at info@joyofkosher.com to reach him. Rabbi Lawrence works for Birthright Israel in New York as their educational director, leading trips to Israel three times annually for young professionals. He also serves on the faculty of Stern College for Women in the Judaic Studies department. He lives in Monsey New York with his wife Anita and their five children. For more about Rabbi Lawrence click on these links - jeconline The Jewish Home: Where Kindness Begins Health and Healing in Judaism" on eating right A video on Tisha be'av...really on Shalom Bayit

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