Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dreidels and Gelt (The Inside Story)

The Koznitzer Magid, in the sefer Avodas Yisroel, says that one of the purposes of the holy days is to bring the light of those days into the times afterward. The holy days are times of mochin d'gadlus, a time of epandeded consciousness. The holidays are mashpia that sense of mochin d'gadlus into the times of mochin d'katnus, small-mindedness, that follow them. The light of Chanukah is followed by the dark winter months of Teves and Shvat, so we want to be mashpia the light of chanukah onto Teves and Shvat's mochin d'katnus.

To mirror this process, the gedolim (adults, who parallel the mochin d'gadlus) are mashpia, give, to the ketanim (children, who parallel mochin d'katnus) dreidels to play with and gelt on Chanukah. By giving these things to the children to use on Chanukah, we parallel the process of how Chanukah is mashpia the mochin d'gadlus of Chanukah onto the cold dark winter months that follow it, which don't have any Yomim Tovim.

Spiffy, eh? And a big toda raba to my friend Rabbi Reuven Boshnack who showed me that piece at his house on the fourth day of Chanukah!

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of

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