hist-games: dreidel

Trevor G James trevor.james at virgin.net
Tue Sep 26 16:10:47 PDT 2000

SEDWilkins at aol.com wrote:
> Hi list (it's awfully quiet out there. . .)
> Does anyone have good information on the origins of the dreidel? I've got
> sources that state it's a central-european late Ren. game or even later and
> some that claim it dates back to the Syrian domination of Israel (200 BCE).
Dear Sally (& All),

The 'standard' texts say that Dreidel was invented to cover up the
Sabbath 'shul' congregation of young boys in countries where Jews were
persecuted. On the approach of potential persecutors/ informers,
religious instruction would rapidly cease and the dreidel would be
brought out, giving the appearance of a gambling school.

Moreover, the invention of the teetotum form of die is relatively
recent, and *certainly* wasn't known in the years BC.



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