How Do You Play the Dreidel Game

You may be wondering: How do you play the dreidel game? Dreidel is a traditional game played during the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. A dreidel is a toy, a top shaped a bit like a cube with a point on the bottom and a stem at the top to grab and give it a spin.

Each of the four faces on the dreidel has a Hebrew letter on it, corresponding to the first letter in each word of a four-word sentence. The letters are: Nun, Gimel, Hay and Shin. The sentence in Hebrew is Nes gadol hayah sham, which means "A great miracle happened there." In Israel, dreidels have a different last letter, Pey, corresponding to the word Po, meaning "here" since the miracle that one vial of oil lasted for eight days took place in Israel.

Each of the four letters also corresponds to an action to take, if the dreidel lands with the letter facing up. Here's how to play:

You Need: A dreidel (some people like to play with one per person) and something to use for tokens, such as chips, pennies, chocolate gelt or even M&Ms. Have a few dozen tokens. Seat everyone in a circle, and give an equal number of tokens to each person. Everyone puts one token into the "pot," the center of the playing space.

The youngest player spins the dreidel first. When it lands, the letter facing up determines what happens next.

Nun: "Nothing" (or Nisht in Yiddish) Nothing is taken, nothing added. The turn is over.

Gimel: "Get" (or Gantz "everything" in Yiddish) The player gets to take everything that's in the pot.

Hay: "Half" (or Halb in Yiddish) The player takes half of the tokens in the pot. An odd number gets rounded up in favor of the player.

Shin: "Put one in" (or shtel in Yiddish) The player adds one of his tokens to the pot.

Once the player's turn ends, every player puts one of his or her own tokens into the pot. The first player passes the dreidel to the player to his right, and it is that player's turn to spin. The game continues until one player has taken all of the tokens in the game, or everyone gets tired of playing, and wants to eat their chocolate, whichever comes first.

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