Happy Chanuka 2010

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Project by PurpLev posted 12-02-2010 12:04 AM 3632 views 2 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In the spirit of the holidays, I made some svivonim (dreidels) last weekend for the family kids. unplanned for, but I ended up with 9 of them which seem to come together interestingly into different structures such as a hidden magen-david (start of david) in the first picture.

3 are made of cherry,

3 are made of applewood with 2 sides laminated with left over 1/8” mahogany veneer I cut a couple of years ago,

3 are made of mahogany with 1 side laminated with 1/64” veneer cutoff of applewood that was merely some slices off of the previous dreidels that I cleaned up.

I carved the appropriate hebrew letters on the sides and let my daughter paint them (will post pic of that later).

Happy Chanuka (starts tonight) and Happy Holidays to all.


Edit: As requested, I’ll add this to the main post, and not only as a comment that could get lost, here is the story about the letters:

There are 4 sides on the dreidel, each gets a letter.

Now, actually there are 2 versions depending on where the dreidel is made whether it be IN Israel, or abroad. If the dreidel is made in Israel then the 4 letters are:

Nun (נ) for the word ‘Ness’ which translates to a ‘miracle’
Gimel (ג) for the word ‘Gadol’ which translates to ‘Big/Great’
Heh (ה) for the word ‘Haya’ which translates to ‘happened’
Peh (פ) for the word ‘Poh’ which translates to ‘here’

The phrase נס גדול היה פה ‘Nes Gadol Haya Poh’ (great miracle happened here) refers to the miracle of Chanuka and the oil pitcher. During the Roman empire, Jews were not allowed to practice their religion in Israel, and the Menorah with it’s 6+1 lights at the Temple in Jerusalem was not allowed to be lit. the romans confiscated all the oil that was used to light the menorah, and only 1 small pitcher was left unnoticeable. The miracle was that the small pitcher supposedly refilled itself with oil every day allowing the menorah to be lit for 8 days – hence the 8 days of the holiday, and hence the lighting of the Chanukia which is a 8+1 lights version of the menorah.

Now, if the dreidel was made outside of Israel, than the last letter is changed to a Shin (ש) for the word “Sham” which translates to ‘there’ as the miracle was ‘there’ in Jerusalem.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

34 comments so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4230 days

#1 posted 12-02-2010 12:17 AM

Nes, Gadol, Haya, Sham.

A great miracle—or, in this case, more great woodworking (!)—happened, here :-)

-- -- Neil

View cheller's profile


254 posts in 5166 days

#2 posted 12-02-2010 12:19 AM

Gut Yontiff! The svivonim look great.

-- Chelle

View Bovine's profile


114 posts in 4384 days

#3 posted 12-02-2010 12:53 AM

Nice work, Purp. What finish did you use?

Happy Chanuka!

-- Kansas City, KS "Nothing is as permanent as a temporary solution"

View woodbutcher's profile


592 posts in 5222 days

#4 posted 12-02-2010 01:04 AM

Happy Chanuka to you! Good to see that you have the kids in mind, I’m sure they’ll enjoy playing with them. I have absolutely no knowledge of the Hebrew language and even less now, I can’t see any carved letters? I gotta believe that those (svivonim) things will spin just like a top also? I assume that it is customary to use different size dowels in the making of these, is nine a normal number for a complete set? How about a little history for the ignorant ones here, like myself! Keep on keeping on!

Ken McGinnis

-- woodbutcher north carolina

View littlecope's profile


3119 posts in 4559 days

#5 posted 12-02-2010 01:36 AM

Happy Chanuka, Sharon… May Peace be with You and Yours as well, my Friend(s)!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 5078 days

#6 posted 12-02-2010 01:47 AM

Happy Chanuka, Sharon!
Do you know the driedel song?
Have fun with your family and friends.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4822 days

#7 posted 12-02-2010 01:57 AM

Nice project Purp. Am I misunderstanding something about the spelling. I always thought it was Hanukkah. I’m not saying that is how it supposed to be or anything. You may know more about it than I do… or it’s something other than what I’m thinking about. Really doesn’t matter what we call it, it’s the results that count and I can tell just by looking that you enjoyed making these.
- JJ

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5275 days

#8 posted 12-02-2010 02:05 AM

Happy Chanuka, Sharon! A great holiday project to get your daughter involved with.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4230 days

#9 posted 12-02-2010 02:06 AM


There’s about a dozen ways to spell it, and they all work :-)

-- -- Neil

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4822 days

#10 posted 12-02-2010 02:09 AM

Thanks Neil, I kinda figured it was something like that. I had only seen it spelled with the H… Like I said, doesn’t matter how you spell it, matters that you observe…. Again, nice project Purp.
- JJ

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 4018 days

#11 posted 12-02-2010 02:26 AM


View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3837 days

#12 posted 12-02-2010 02:40 AM

Happy Chanuka as well (cheated, cut and paste to avoid spelling errors that i’m prone to…) I tried to make these a few years ago for a neighbour..good thing I didn’t say I would, working off a
magazine pattern as a suprise and ballance, no spin for any time, no joy.. These look great !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4252 days

#13 posted 12-02-2010 02:46 AM

Happy Hanukkah Sharon. Those dreidels look amazing and the star of david layout is a nice touch. Didn’t play with a dreidel tonight but I did make some latkes for my wife

after lighting the candles. They turned out great.

JJ, there is no direct translation of Chanukah from Hebrew to English so you’ll see it spelled a number of ways, all are correct.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4822 days

#14 posted 12-02-2010 02:49 AM

Looks like I’m learning more than Woodworking today. Thanks Eric.
- JJ

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4230 days

#15 posted 12-02-2010 03:10 AM

Well then …

Since class is in session … I believe it’s….


-- -- Neil

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