Ravitz, Liza J

Journal of Sandplay Therapy, Volume 3, Number 1, 1993

KEY WORDS: top, dreidel, Hanukkah, Jewish tradition, oil, square, circle, totality, masculine/feminine, polarity, play, clinical examples, individuation, symbolic image, symbol, sandplay therapy, symbol

ABSTRACT: The dreidel, of spinning top, is played with during Hanukkah, of the Festival of Lights in the Jewish tradition. This could have developed from the spinning thread of ancient Japan. Hanukkah is celebrated to remember the defeat of the Greeks and the miracle of the unlimited oil for the eternal light. The symbolic significance of the dreidel is described as the square in the circle, totality or completion. The masculine/feminine polarity is seen in the phallic upper stalk and the lower feminine triangle. Also, the dreidel was used for play, as a cover for the study of the holy books when studying the Torah was prohibited. Three cases describe the use of the dreidel, in it’s integrating quality with hidden information of the psyche for individuation.