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Recently I’ve heard the claim the dreidel is not of Jewish origins and that there is no proof that Jews spun dreidels in caves in Chanukah story and that it was a gambling device adopted from the goyim. On the other hand I’ve also heard that the dreidel is extremely significant and that Kabbalists attach extreme importance to the spinning of the dreidel and have special kavvanot while doing so and I’ve also heard derashot on the dreidel. What is the truth about the history of the dreidel?




While I can’t prove that this is the original origin for this custom, it is brought in the sefer אוצר כל מנהגי ישורון פי”ט אות ד’. In general, if Klal Yisroel has a custom to do something, usually there are good reasons for it. We may not know all of the reasons, but throughout the generation, they were careful about what they did, especially because there were very big people who did this custom. See Nitei Gavriel -Chanukah Chapter 51-1, who cites numerous Chassidic Rabbis who played with this on Chanukah, for various reasons.

Best wishes


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