Rabbi’s Dreidel Collection Hits 600
December 21, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
PITTSBURGH, Dec. 21 (UPI) — Rabbi Sara Perman says her 600 dreidels, each telling the Hanukkah story of escape from Hellenistic oppression, will be displayed at her Pittsburgh-area home.
The rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El Israel had been collecting dreidels since before her move to Greensburg, Pa., 25 years ago and discovered a crystal dreidel after schmying (meandering/wandering) around a furniture store, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Tuesday.
After Perman took the crystal object to the desk to pay for it, the clerk was a bit confused as to why she would want it.
“It’s a top,” the clerk said.
“Yes, it’s a top,” the rabbi said.
“It’s a top,” the clerk said again, sounding perturbed.
“Yes, a top,” said the rabbi, puzzled.
“There’s no bottom for it,” the clerk informed her.
Only then did Rabbi Perman realize the history-telling dreidel had been mistaken for the top of a crystal decanter, the newspaper said.
Each side of the dreidel has a Hebrew letter that stands for “A great miracle happened there” and is spun like a top while played in a game during Hanukkah.
In the Jewish religion, Hanukkah, is a relatively minor holiday but is rooted, like many of the religion’s observances, in a fight for freedom against oppression — in this case against Hellenized Syrians who, in 163 B.C. had forbidden the practice of Judaism, ordered Jews to worship the Syrian king and desecrated the temple in Jerusalem.
A small family of Jewish priests, the Maccabees, led a revolt fighting off their oppressors and rededicated the temple, lighting the candles with oil that lasted eight days instead of the expected one.