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Betting game, associated with Hanukkah. In third centruy BC persecuted Jews used the dreidel to preserve their religion, by studying and teaching covertly with the four sided top. Each side of the dreidel is enscribed with Hebrew letters: nun, gimel, hay, and shin--which represented the Yiddish words "nisht" (nothing), "gantz" (all), "halb" (half), and "shtel" (put in). Some traditions claim Jewish adults used the dreidel to pretend they were gambling when, in fact, they were discussing the Torah.

I'm not 100% sure about the meanings of the four Hebrew letters on the Dreidel in terms of "all", "nothing", and so on, but traditionally they stand for:

נ - Nes
ג - Gadol
ה - Haya
ש - Sham

Together it makes Nes gadol haya sham, "A great miracle happened there."

In Israel, instead of a ש they have a פ (for "Poh"), which makes it rather, "A great miracle happened here", because the miracle of Hanukah took place in Israel.

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