The Chanukah Miracle

Let's face facts: we probably don't have many Jewish readers. All the same, everyone here at Burnside (except Penny Carothers, who's a rampant anti-Semite) would like to wish our Jewish friends a happy Chanukah. I know it's not the biggest Jewish holiday out there, but the Maccabees were badass. In commemoration of this, the first day of Chanukah, I'd like to share with you a story.


Some years ago, our friends Dan and Caryn held a feast during Hannukah and invited all their goyim friends. We wandered over to their house off Hawthorne on a cold night, and we gorged ourselves on Ashkenazi delights.

They went all out. Gentiles and Jews mingled, ate and drank wine. But I was glued to the kitchen table.

As favors, Dan and Caryn purchased a load of cheap, wooden dreidels. As I sat chatting at the table, I was fidgety, spinning the top over and over. After a while, I began to notice something peculiar.

Dreidels have four sides: Nun, Gimel, Hei and Shin. The thing was, only two sides were coming up: Nun and Hei.

And I don't mean they were coming up more often. I mean they were the only sides coming up, almost every time.

I sat at the table and spun and spun. I examined this cheap piece of blue-painted wood like it was the Hope Diamond. It wasn't shaped strangely, it didn't spin erratically. I gave other dreidels at the party a whirl, and all four sides would come up evenly. I wasn't the only one to check: at least six other partygoers examined the dreidel closely, including at least three doctors (okay, they were medical students).

Later that night, at the Moon and Sixpence, I showed my magic dreidel to my friends John, Steve and Trevor. We gave that dreidel 1,000 turns (more, actually, but that was what we counted). It landed on Gimel and Shin 4 times.

I couldn't believe my newfound treasure. That night, I slipped it into my jacket pocket where I knew it would be safe.

But I never saw it again.


Here are my two questions:
1) To anyone out there who might know something about physics: what happened here? I mean, even if the dreidel was weighted, it still couldn't produce those types of numbers, right?

2) To anyone out there who might know something about Judaism: if the spins had nothing to do with the dreidel's physical makeup, then what was this dreidel telling us? Do Nun and Hei mean something important? Is it significant if Gimel and Shin never come up?
The Dreidel, both its arrival and sudden vanishing, remain one of my life's greatest mysteries. Was it a gift from a future me, a la Gray's Sports Almanac? Could its overwhelming odds have better prepared me for the current recession through a lucrative career as a grifter? I MISS YOU, DREIDEL!!!


  1. By the way, Penny Carothers is not an anti-Semite. I realize that doesn't need to be explained to most, but just in case she's applying for a job someday and Human Resources stumbles across this...

  2. According to the Kabbalah, your driedel was foretelling seven years of ED for you Jordan.

    Tough break.