Alright, guys. The time has come. Channukkahh starts tonight, which means I can no longer put off this dreidl thing. I admit, I find it intimidating. Every year I forget the rules, and every year I have to re-learn them. So let’s see what all the spinning is about and win some gelt, shall we?
First of all, this video from Sesame Street is a great guide. It has dreidels, muppets, and a musical number!
I appreciate the fact that they point out that chocolate > money. Whenever someone brings up the old stereotype of how Jews love money (it happens, I know, wtf), I always think of Channukah and say, “you know we really just love chocolate, right?” And then I laugh because I’m actually just creating a new stereotype instead of feeding into an old one, and it’s all artbitrary. Chocolate is pretty awesome, though.
So let’s break it down. Here are the rules to playing dreidel. Prepare yourself.
1. Distribute whatever currency you’re using evenly. It can be chocolate gelt, peanuts, circus peanuts, m&m’s, blueberries, whatever you want it to be, really. Just not real money, that’s kind of no fun. This isn’t Vegas, stop trying to get married.
2. Everyone throws one piece of currency into the pot. If you’ve chosen currency that has varying value (as in, certain pieces are worth more than others), figure out if you’re throwing in the highest, or lowest, or whatever, the point is everyone should put in evenly.
3. Pick someone to spin first. Don’t fight over it. I swear, if you keep fighting, I will separate you two and nobody is getting any latkes.
4. SPINNING! Here are your options:
נ – Nun – Nothing. You get nothing. Your turn is over. Stop whining.
ג – Gimel – Everything! The whole pot is yours! Tell everyone else to stop whining.
ה – Hey – Half. You get half the pot. If it’s uneven, you can round up, most people do. This is a fun holiday game for treats, don’t be the guy who wants to round down.
ש – Shin – Put in. That’s right, you have to add one to the pot. Nu, it could be worse, no?
The game ends when one person has all the winnings. When you run out of whatever currency you’re using, you lose. But it’s ok. You can still watch the rest of the game. Or you can ditch those suckers and go into the other room where all the food is, and just help yourself to treats instead of trying to win them from other people.
And that’s how you play dreidel! I feel prepared now. Mostly relieved, really. Until next year, when I forget again.
Happy Channukkah, you guys!!! Are you excited it’s finally here??? I am!!! You can tell, because I’m punctuating a lot!!!!!!!!!!
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