I made this maze originally as a holiday card back in 2002. Many of my puzzles are based on some bit of tradition, history, or trivia, so for Hanukkah I picked one of the most recognizable symbols of the holiday: the dreidel!

Every year I forget the exact rules of the dreidel game so I’m recording them here for the sake of my failing memory as well as for my gentile readers.

A dreidel (sevivon in Hebrew which means “to turn”) is a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The letters are: נ (Nun), ג (Gimmel), ה (Hay) and ש (Shin), which stand for the phrase Nes Gadol Haya Sham which means “A great miracle happened there” (there being Israel).

Any number of people can play. At the beginning of the game each player is given an equal number of Hanukkah gelt (usually chocolate coins wrapped in gold tin foil but anything can be used).

At the beginning of each round, every player puts one piece into the center pot. They then take turns spinning the dreidel, with the following meanings assigned to each of the Hebrew letters:

  • Nun or “nichts” which means “nothing” in Yiddish. If the dreidel lands with a nun facing up the spinner does nothing.
  • Gimmel or “ganz” which is means “everything.” If the dreidel lands with the gimmel facing up the spinner gets everything in the pot.
  • Hey or “halb” which means “half”. If the dreidel lands with a hey facing up the spinner gets half of the pot.
  • Shin or “shtel” which means “put in.” If the dreidel lands with a shin facing up the player adds a game piece to the pot.

If a player runs out of gelt they are out.

Happy Hanukkah!