On the second night of Chanukah my wife and I visited our son Dovi’s family to play dreidel. It’s a long-standing family tradition that goes back many years from the time we were married in Johannesburg – to play dreidel with all of our children and grandchildren. Each family having one night that Zaidy and Safta comes to play dreidel with them.
I have always had this fascination with the dreidel but for some reason, when we learned about it in Minneapolis Talmud Torah, it was really just a picture in my mind of this little four sided toy that we would spin on Chanukah. We never really went deeply into the meaning of the dreidel; only what each of the four letters appearing on it stood for.
Dovi’s wife Devorah was born in Moscow and when she was 6 months old her whole family made Aliyah. I can imagine the Russians also had very little knowledge of what the dreidel was or what it represented when Devorah made Aliyah.
Devorah came up with a very interesting observation when we were there. She said that in Israel, since the letter Peh stands for the Hebrew word meaning “Here”, it also could suggest the English word meaning “Put” which beings with the same sounding Hebrew letter. That makes sense when actually playing the game of dreidel because when the dreidel lands on “Peh” it means that the person who spins it must “Put” something into the middle from where the reward for those who land on “Gimel” and “Hay” is taken.
But Devorah asked -What about the dreidel that has a “Shin” on it, which is made outside of Israel because it stands for the Hebrew word meaning “There”. How does one know that means to “Put” something into the middle”? She is not aware of any Hebrew word starting with the letter “Shin” meaning something similar. I thought about this for a while and I could not come up with an answer.
I continued to dwell on the subject long after we had left Dovi’s house and it occurred to me that there must be a hidden message there somewhere taking into account Devorah’s observation. This is what I came up with-
While living in South Africa, there are many words that took on a different meaning than what I was used to growing up in Minnesota. For instance, when I came there to live, I was warned to beware of the “Robots” on the road. After being picked up at the airport in Johannesburg, five days before our wedding, I was informed that the first “Robot” was approaching. I got somewhat of a fright, thinking that we were suddenly being invaded by a group, possibly from outer space. As we came to a complete stop, I was introduced to my first South African Robot; which for all of you out there who have no idea what I am talking about, the translation of a “Robot” is a Traffic Light.
The word “Shame” is what I want to focus on for this Blog. Shame can have many meanings, but it seems to be the number one word used when South Africans want to express the feeling of disappointment. That is the look I see on my children and grandchildren’s faces when they land on a Peh, and if we were living outside of Israel, that letter would be Shin.
But let’s look a bit deeper. The Shin is also a letter that stands for Shalom , which of course means Peace, Hello and GoodBye in Hebrew. One Word with Three meanings.
This is the Third Time in History that a President has been voted by the House to be Impeached. Now it has to go to the Senate. Will the Senate agree? It does not look very promising for those wanting to see President Trump being Impeached, and by the looks of it, the dreidel would agree. Especially if the game of dreidel was being played in South Africa.
Because if someone lands on “Shin”, the whole group of South Africans would most likely shout “SHAME”.
In a previous Blog, I suggested that if you take away the letter “E” and tip it on its side, with the spikes pointing upward, it resembles the Hebrew letter of “Shin” – the first letter of the Hebrew word “Shalom”.
The Shin also looks like a “three pronged menorah”.
So if you now began with the word “SHAME” and take away the E, you end up with-
“SHAM” – EXACTLY HOW TO LABEL THIS IMPEACHMENT TRIAL
In other words, President Trump will continue to remain in office, and support the State Of Israel.
At this time of rising Anti-Semitism worldwide, the Impeachment vote must die in the Senate.
Chag Chanukah Sameach – Happy Chanukah