What is a Dreidel?

The so-called Dreidel is an instrument that is being played by most children and kids at heart. A Dreidel is a four-sided item that was marked with several letters written in the Hebrew language, and these Hebrew letters are shin, hay, gimel, and nun. Playing the dreidel by many children these days originated the legend from Hanukkah that, during the Maccabees time, the time when the children Jews were hiding to study the Hebrew Bible, they likely prefer to defy the decree and choose to study more on the phrases written in the Hebrew Bible. When the official Greeks come close to the Jewish children, they will hide the Book of Torah and play their dreidel or the spinning tops, showing that they are just playing and do not study the verses written in the Torah.

The Hebrew letters written on every side of dreidel are the first four letters found in the Hebrew phrase, which means “A great miracle happened there.” The word “there” is referring to the land of Israel. In the Land of Israel, the “peh” letter means “po” in Hebrew which means “here” in English, wherein the shin letter was replaced to spell out the Hebrew phrase stated above.

Sevivon is the Hebrew term for dreidel, which means “to turn around” in Yiddish. As mentioned above, the dreidel or the sevivon in Hebrew contains four different Hebrew letters that stand for the saying “Nesgadolhaya sham,” which means “A great miracle occurred there.” Playing the sevivon or the dreidel is a historical game for Hanukkah that is being played in many Jewish homes around the globe, and the rules of playing dreidel will depend upon the country. The following are the steps on how to properly play the game of dreidel.

•    Fewer or lots of people can play the game of dreidel.

•    Every player should start the dreidel game through having the same number of game pieces, for about 10 to 15 game pieces, such as matchsticks, raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, pennies and many more.

•    At the start of every round of the game, each player must put at least a single game piece at the middle of the pot. Furthermore, when the pot doesn’t have any game piece, each player of the game must place a game piece at the center of the pot again.

•    Each time that it is your turn to spin the dreidel, spin if for once. Varying upon the side where it stops, you will get or give a game piece on the pot.

For those people who don’t have ideas about the Hebrew letters, there are some sevivon or dreidel that has the English translation of each Hebrew letter.

The Hebrew letter nun refers to the word “nothing” or nisht in Hebrew. The player will not get any game pieces from the pot. The Hebrew letter Gimel refers to the word “everything” and halb in Hebrew. The player will have the chance to get all the game pieces placed in the pot. The Hebrew letter Hey refers to the word “half” or halb in Hebrew. The player will get the half amount of the game pieces. If the number of game pieces in the pot is odd, the player will get the half number of the game pieces plus the other one. The Hebrew letter Shin refers to the word put in or shtel in Hebrew. The word “Pehhas” has the same meaning as “Shin.” The player will add a single game piece at the center of the pot.

•    If you think that you don’t have enough game pieces, you may either borrow some game pieces to the other player or choose to quit the game.

•    When a player gets all the game pieces, the round of the game of dreidel is finished. Congratulate the winner and ask if the second round will be conducted.


To sum it up, the Hebrew word suvivon or dreidel in English refers to the spinning top item that has four sides. Every side of the dreidel contains each of the four Hebrew letters, the shin, hay, gimil, and nun. The steps of playing this are very easy. Thus, anyone is allowed to play the game of dreidel.

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