Brass Dreidel. Replica. Bezalel Art School, Jerusalem, Early 20th Century
Height: 5 cm / 2"
Width: 4.5 cm / 1.8"
This wonderful dreidel is such a work of art, you won't be able to decide whether to give it to the kids to play with, or keep it behind glass for guests to gaze at in wide-eyed wonder!
This piece is modeled after a spinning top created for the Diaspora at the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts, Jerusalem, in the early 20th century. As it was made for the Diaspora, the letters on it are nun, gimmel, heh, shin (see explanation below).
The Hebrew word for spinning top – sevivon (from saviv = around) – was coined by the son of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who led the revival of modern Hebrew in the early 20th century. Previously, Hanukkah spinning tops were given many names in literature and folklore. In Yiddish, for example, the spinning top is called dreydl (meaning “to turn”) or verfel
(“dice”). The letters on the four sides of the top relate to a spinning game played on Hanukkah; together, they form an acronym for the Hebrew phrase “a great miracle happened there” (alluding to the miracle of the Maccabees’ victory over Antiochus’s army and the reconsecration of the Temple in Jerusalem). In the land of Israel, the acronym is slightly different to form the phrase “a great miracle happened here.”
This item comes with a certificate of authenticity of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Enclosed is a short description of its historical background in English and Hebrew.