Chanukah Gifts & Dreidels

Traditions & Customs

Dreidels, latkes, donuts, Hanukkah gifts and gelt. What are the origins and reasons for the many Hanukkah traditions and customs?

Mundane as it may seem, the gift of money expresses one of the most powerful lessons of Chanukah.
Why the Chanukah Gelt?
Reasons for giving Chanukah gifts
On Chanukah we give the children gelt. Why?
The Overhand Spin
On Chanukah we have a dreidel, Purim a gragger. Whats in the spin?
Why Do We Play With a Dreidel (Top) on Chanukah?
The common reason is that the simple little top was used during the Chanukah era to preserve Judaism.
Why All the Oil and Cheese?
Since its discovery, potato has been blamed for everything from lust to leprosy. The oily potato mystery.
The Kabbalah of the Dreidel
Are you having a Gimmel day? (It's been a while, eh?) Or perhaps a Shin moment? (That one doesn't require any explanation…) But did you ever ponder the fact that all four letters are faces of the same Dreidel?
My Dreidel, Your Dreidel, Our Dreidel
Oh Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel, I made you out of clay, and the Almighty Himself breathed into you a soul of fire and you in turn tempered in His people a will of steel...
Is Giving Chanukah Presents a Non-Jewish Custom?
I am having a very hard time, as the holidays approach, with teaching my children the beauty of Chanukah and not having them see it as a Jewish x‑mas. I know it has become somewhat of a tradition to give children gifts during Chanukah, but is this really a Jewish custom?
The Guilt-Free Jelly Donut
I can't help feeling that if G‑d by any chance feels the need for a bit of supernatural holiday déjà vu, perhaps He should consider creating a guilt-free jelly doughnut...
Stop the Dreidel!
Each component of a Jewish holiday was put in place in accordance with the particular holiday’s singular message. So, where does that leave the traditional dreidel game?
Chanukah Gelt – A Lesson in Giving
But honestly, is there any real difference between the rest of the world and us? They give presents, we give cash. So what?
The Spinner of Our Lives
It seems that every year the dreidel-makers try to outdo themselves.
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