Dreidels are a beloved part of Hanukah celebrations the world over. And they’re far from being simple playthings; dreidels symbolize deep spiritual concepts. Below are four enlightening messages that can be learned from the dreidel.

  1. It hints to us that there’s nothing that happens in this world without it being decreed on high. Just as a person spinning the dreidel can’t know on what side it will land, so too he can’t know where his efforts will lead him. Spinning the dreidel harder doesn’t get you any closer to resolving this. Likewise, in life, the extra effort often just means a few more turns than necessary before getting to the result decreed on high. Gd runs our life in a similar way. A man can’t change what was decreed on him from on high and all the extra efforts are just meandering off the path Gd plotted for you.
  2. Just as the dreidel spins only when you spin it from above, so too our world spins around by Gd spinning it from above.
  3. A person who spins and orients himself inwards toward Gd will merit that he will spin out of and will escape the troubles that envelop him.
  4. The Bnei Issachar explains: “…people spin the dreidel with the letters gimmel, shin, nun, and heh – and each faces a different direction with the dreidel spinning around a central point. These letters hint to the kingdoms of Rome, Babylon, Greece, and Madai, which oppose the four powers of man.  Gimmel for “guf,” the body, shin for  “sechel,” human intelligence, nun for “nefesh,” the soul, and heh for “hakol,” all of them.

They all spin on a central axis, which is Israel, that unites all the far away extremes. All the outside extremes are subservient to the middle they all spin around, and all the nations will nullify themselves to the nation of Israel and acquire a clear language (with which to come to Gd).”