Chanukah begins at sunset tomorrow (Dec. 20), so it's time to break out the dreidels for a vigorous game with family and friends. Not sure of the rule? No worries. We got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about the Chanukah dreidel:


A dreidel is a wooden top with four Hebrew letters on it. The basic idea is to spin the top and do whatever the Hebrew letter tells you to do. The letters, Nun, Gimmel, Hey and Shin stand for the saying, “Nes gadol haya sham,” meaning “A great miracle occurred there.” 


To play, gather your friends and family and make sure everyone has an equal number of game pieces. You can use pennies, nuts, tokens, chocolate chips, raisins, etc. Give everyone 10-15 of each.


To start the game, every player puts one game piece into the "pot." Throughout the game, players add one piece to the pot whenever it is empty.  


Every player takes their turn spinning the dreidel. Depending upon the letter the dreidel lands on, you give or get game pieces from the pot:


  • Nun. "Nisht" or "nothing."  The player does nothing.
  • Gimmel. "Gantz" or "everything." The player gets everything in the pot.
  • Hey. "Halb" or "half." The player takes half of the pot.
  • Shin. "Shtel" or "put in." The player puts one game piece in the pot.  
When you are out of pieces, you are out of the game. The last person remaining in the game is the winner!


Happy Chanukah!

Spinning the dreidel for Chanukah
Everything you need to know to play the dreidel game this Chanukah.