Our friends at ISRAEL21c share Hanukkah facts like where the word ‘dreidel’ comes from:
Get your spinning finger ready: It’s time to remember when the Greeks were in town and forbade Jews to learn Torah. Tradition holds that kids used to meet up in secret to learn, but if a Greek soldier happened upon their meeting they would pretend to be gambling with their dreidels.
Israeli author/politician Avram Burg is said to have the largest dreidel collection in the world, counting more than 3,500.
Dreidel, by the way, is a Yiddish word which comes from ‘drei’ – to turn or spin. The dreidel (a special spinning top for Hanukkah) features four Hebrew letters. In Israel, the letters are Nun, Gimel, Hay and Peh. Abroad, they’re Nun, Gimel, Hay, Shin. The letters stand for the Hebrew phrase “A great miracle happened there (for those outside of Israel)/here (for those in Israel).