Dreidel dreidel dreidel

“Come on, come on, let’s light the candles!” we called upstairs to our son.

PJ’d feet, ready to light candles.

He felt badly that he hadn’t gotten us Hanukkah presents, but he’d come up with a solution, and tonight was the night. He wrote up a list of times from which we could choose when we would light the candles. We each checked two boxes. He concluded from them that the “answer” was 4 pm. It was 4 pm, and we were ready.

“Come downstairs!”

We asked him to get the menorah.  “No, I can’t, I’m holding presents.”  They were tucked up his PJ sleeves.

We lit the candles, said the prayers, and he gave us our wrapped gifts.  WOW!  Susan got an iPod, and I got an iPhone and a purple pen!!  The sneak had, of course, given us our own belongings.

Out came the dreidels and M&Ms.  All the while, a song kept whirling through my head.

Put on your yamika, here comes hanukkah.
It’s so much fun-akkah to celebrate hanukkah.

Thank you Adam Sandler.

With the blue dreidel, I kept scoring “gimmel.”  All the M&Ms in the pot for me!  With the brown dreidel, Our son kept spinning “hey,” usually when there were an odd number of M&Ms, so he “had” to bite one of them in half.  Susan’s gold plastic dreidel most often turned up “nun” (none), or “shin” (put one back in).  We traded dreidels, and the same patterns held true: turns out they are all unevenly weighted!

With every “gimmel,” Susan shouted “gantz!”  For “hey,” she said “halb.”  I thought she was bandying about her Swiss-German, but those words are the same in Yiddish.  Gus repeatedly repeated his bet on which candles would go out first.  We all ate our winnings.  At last, our sugar highs just beginning, all of the M&Ms were gone.

Dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made it out of clay, and when it’s dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play.

I watched the candles as they burned down and thought not about the destruction of the Temple and the oil that miraculously lasted for eight days, but rather about what this adopted holiday means to me.  There is more candlelight each night, just as our days begin to reach their nadir.  By participating in the ritual, I help ensure the daylight will return.

Poof, out went one candle.  Two.  Then three.  And finally, several minutes later, the shamas.  Five more nights of Hanukkah.  Eight more days until the winter solstice.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Dreidel dreidel dreidel by Kim Brookes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Permission to Use.

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