In many stories it is told that the dreidel was used as a method to teach talmud in secret under the guise of gambling; but the dreidel is also the reminder of strength, devotion and perseverance of the Jewish people.
If The dreidel is the ship — it spins round and like a spiral bringing us up to heaven and then forward into our lives. We need a ship to carry us forward – now.
NES is the strategy. In ancient times it was associate with the snake
GIMEL is fortitude.
HEH is the window — the inutterable name of God and the window into our souls through which Divine light can touch us.
SHIN is strength — and blessing.
Together we ride the dreidel through the darkness into the unknown.
For when the night falls — what light is left?
We are left.
We fly together on the dreidel — through blessing and fortitude, scattering light. We fly together in the darkness, holding onto the window for dear life.
Let this light — and the light that we bring into the world this Chanukah chase the shadows for you in these days of uncertainty.
Let the light that you create and the light that you scatter chase the shadows for others.
May you dream of flying into the dawn and may you scatter light in any way you know how.
For if you see shadows…surely light is nearby.
L’chaim, l’chaim for the light that you do see. Wishing you all – on this fourth night and on this festival of lights – a l’chaim, l’chaim of blessing, of safety and of fortitude.
(These were the closing remarks from the Midwest Jewish Artists Laboratory candlelighting on December 13, 2020, representing five cities.)
Leslie Coff can also be found on the Breathing Out Stars podcast, available everywhere.