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by Michael Corob
"Will you play Dreidel with me, Grandpa?"
My grandson asks me this question: as I
asked my father, and as my grandfather
asked his, and as children have asked their
elders for as long as there have been Dreidels.
I tell him that it would be my pleasure to play,
and it is.
As I spin the top, he watches eagerly,
and he turns his pennies over in his fingers.
His mind whirls like a top to many places at once:
to the sizzling Latkes, or to the lights of the menorah.
He anticipates the nightly rituals: the wonderful songs,
the presents, and the gelt:
bright gold outside, and soft chocolate inside.
He enjoys the expectation of every move,
and the potential Gimmel at any time.
It doesn't matter if we are playing for pennies,
for gelt, or just for fun: Dreidel is always special.
Playing the game makes me feel connected
to all the Jews, and to the message:
A great miracle happened there.
We all have the image of soldiers studying the Torah,
then putting the books away when the Syrians approached.
I laugh at the thought of the opposite;
children putting their tops away to take in knowledge.
Dreidel teaches us the renewing values of play,
of learning, of being with family and of being present.
It reminds us of the miracles of times long ago,
of today, the blessings of the presents,
and of a time yet to come.
Spin, little Dreidel, spin.
from the December 2000 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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