Why make a dreidel out of clay…

Categories: B-shul, Religious School

…When you can make it out of CHOCOLATE?!?

bshul_choc_dreidls2For a spin on the classic song “Oh dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made it out of clay,” I decided it would be fun and delicious to make chocolate dreidels.  Pictured are Chavarim students using squeeze bottles & special molds to turn liquid chocolate into dreidels. While allowing the chocolate to “set,” students read and discussed interesting facts (summarized below) associated with the Hanukkah dreidel. For example, the only mandated mitzvot for Hanukah are lighting candles and saying the full hallel, spinning the dreidel and giving gelt are special traditions associated with the holiday.

Chavarim, Vav and Zayin students carefully un-molded & wrapped each chocolate dreidel for the December 9th Beth El Religious School Hanukah Spectacular.  Of-course the best part of this lesson was tasting after saying the blessing over candy:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the
Universe, by Whose word all things came to be.

If you’d like to try this sweet treat at home, visit the Chocoley website to order BadaBing (Kosher-Nut Free-Gluten Free) molding chocolate.

wooden-dreidelInteresting Dreidel Information:

According to Wikipedia, A dreidel (Hebrew: סביבון‎‎ sevivon) is a four-sided top, played with during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.  The Yiddish word dreydl comes from the word dreyen (“to turn”). The Hebrew word sevivon comes from the Semitic root “SVV” (“to turn.”) Parents often give children chocolate “gelt”to play dreidel with.

The dreidel is a Jewish variant on the teetotum, a gambling toy found in many European cultures.  Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (He), ש (Shin), which together form the acronym for “נס גדול היה שם” (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – “a great miracle happened there”). These letters were originally a mnemonic for the rules of a gambling game played with a dreidel: Nun stands for the Yiddish word nisht (“nothing”), He stands for halb (“half”), Gimel for gants (“all”), and Shin for shtel ayn (“put in”).  Some rabbis ascribe symbolic significance to the markings on the dreidel. One commentary, for example, connects the four letters with the four nations to which the House of Judah was historically subject—Babylonia, Persia, Seleucid Empire and Rome.

In Israel, the fourth side of most dreidels is inscribed with the letter פ (Pei) instead, rendering the acronym, נס גדול היה פה, Nes Gadol Hayah Poh—”A great miracle happened here” referring to the miracle occurring in the Land of Israel.

Hanukkah gelt (Hebrew: דמי חנוכה dmei ḥanukah) meaning literally “Hanukkah money,” refers to money as well as chocolate coins given to Jewish children on the festival of Hanukkah.  In terms of actual gelt (money), parents and grandparents or other relatives may give sums of money as an official Hanukkah gift. According to a survey done in 2006, 74 percent of parents in Israel give their children Chanukah gelt.  Rabbi A. P. Bloch has written that  “The tradition of giving money (Chanukah gelt) to children is of long standing. The custom had its origin in the 17th-century practice of Polish Jewry to give money to their small children for distribution to their teachers. In time, as children demanded their due, money was also given to children to keep for themselves. Teenage boys soon came in for their share. According to Magen Avraham (18th century), it was the custom for poor yeshiva students to visit homes of Jewish benefactors who dispensed Chanukah money (Orach Chaim 670). The rabbis approved of the custom of giving money on Chanukah because it publicized the story of the miracle of the oil.”



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