of the dreidel, the traditional spinner that is played with
on Chanukah, is that at the time of the Syrian-Greek decrees
against the Jews, one of the harshest decrees was
prohibiting Jews to study the Holy Torah. Any Jew that was
caught studying or teaching Torah was put to death. This of
course did not deter the Jews to continue studying Torah,
even when they were caught and imprisoned. The Jews came up
with a creative way of avoiding being caught. They prepared
spinners that when the enemy soldiers inspected the homes of
the Jews or the cells of the prisoners; they found them
spinning their dreidels. While “playing” with their spinners
they would discuss Torah topics. The soldiers didn’t catch
on that they were actually engaged in Torah study.
See other reasons for
using dreidels on Chanukah throughout the site.