During the three years’ war after the outlawing of Jewish practices by the former Greek-Syrian king Antiochus, many children of the faith played the game of threefold.
They played it after quickly putting away their Torah and other items of Judaism as they hid from the soldiers who came to their land.
They hoped the game would mean that they were not seen or discovered during the conflict, but would still give them opportunities to participate in the Jewish faith and teachings.
Read more: Hanukkah 2021: What is a menorah and why is it important?
The Dreidelspiel consists of a four-sided top, which can be made of plastic, wood or glass and can be turned in a pointed position.
Players take a number of tokens – such as penny coins, almonds, or other small items that can be used – and then one of them is placed in a pot just before the contestants begin each round.
Depending on whether you put more items in or take one out of the pot depends on what you land on with the top, all of which are marked in Hebrew.
If you get ‘nun’ then you are doing nothing for your round. If you land on ‘gimmel’ you get everything in the pot. If you get “hay” you get 50 percent of the pot. If you get ‘shin’, however, you will have to add to the pot what the players decided before the round began, or simply add an extra piece to the pot if nothing was predetermined.
If you’ve lost all of your checkers and landed on ‘shin’, you’re out of the game.
In order to continue, however, you can opt for a “loan system” in which each player can give a token to another player so that he can continue playing.
However, if this is not what you want, you can simply decide that a player with no pieces loses.
In this case, the winner is determined by the person who is the only one left with at least one pawn at the end of the round. You can continue in this way for three, four or more rounds or until you have declared one player the overall winner.
This year’s Hanukkah festival begins on Sunday, November 28th and ends on Monday, December 6th.
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