As we celebrated Hanukkah, which manifests for many the happiest and most delighted Jewish Holiday, we introduced a few element of this holiday. We can’t talk about Hanukkah without mentioning the children’s favorite joyous game and toy – the se•vi•von, the dreidel.
Besides being a game the dreidel has a commemorative value. Every Hanukkah sevivon has four corners with a different Hebrew letter written or engraved on each corner. Each of these letters make the initial of the corresponding word of the phrase: ‘Nes Gadol Haya Po (a Great Miracle Happened Here). In case you decided to learn Hebrew, these letters are ‘noon,’ ‘gimel,’ ‘hey,’ and ‘pey.’ The Israeli dreidels are different than the dreidels in other parts of the world. They have one Hebrew letter that is not included on the international dreidels. This is the letter ‘pey,’ the initial of the word ‘po,’ ‘here’. On international dreidels this letter is exchanged with the letter ‘sheen,’ the initial of the word ‘sham,’ ‘there’. Therefore, American and other international dreidels say: ‘a Great Miracle Happened There.’
Sevivon means ‘a spinner.’ This name is derived from the root ‘sa•vav,’ ‘to spin,’ ‘to encircle,’ to swivel.
Because the spinning dreidel falls on a different corner at the completion of its spin, you can imagine why this game is so popular and how the young children turn into ‘high rollers’ on this educational ‘Jewish Roulette.’