We never played a lot of dreidel when I was growing up, but since having children it is a very regular part of our Chanukah. Most Chanukah evenings we finish dinner and follw it with a good game of dreidel (we use M+Ms as our gelt to gamble. Sam has a tendency to eat his gelt throughout the game, making it difficult for him to win). The dreidels I show you today are from Itzhak Luvaton, an Israeli artist. His specialty is creating unique Judaica art that combines ancient Jewish tradition with modern design - using an interesting variety of materials. Itzhak's studio is located in Kibbutz Mishmar David. His work is displayed both in his own gallery in Jerusalem and in many galleries around the world.
As my boys get older, they may get a bit bored of plain old dreidel so I think we may have to invest in this more challenging game Texas Dreidel where the dreidel meets poker!
This week's portion Parshat Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27) begins with Judah's impassioned plea to the powerful Egyptian ruler (Joseph still in disguise) for Benjamin's fate, claiming that Jacob would surely die from sorrow if he lost Benjamin. Judah offers to remain in Egypt as a slave in his younger brother's stead. Joseph, unable to restrain himself any longer, reveals his identity to his stunned brothers and forgives them for selling him into slavery so many years before, stating that sending him to Egypt was a part of the Divine plan to prepare for their survival from the famine. Joseph then sends them back to the land of Israel, laden with gifts, to bring Jacob and their families down to Egypt where they will live in the province of Goshen. Before Jacob leaves home, Hashem appears to him in a "vision of the night," reassuring him that He will be with them and that they will eventually return to the land of Israel as a great nation. After twenty-two years of separation, Jacob is finally reunited with his beloved son Joseph, and they are brought to meet Pharaoh. The portion concludes by describing how Joseph uses his vast power to amass nearly all of the wealth of Egypt for Pharaoh's treasury.