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  • Writer's pictureJoel Dwek & Danny Wiser

World Music Advent Calendar - December 18th

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

ISRAEL: סְבִיבוֹן סוֹב סוֹב סוֹב (Sevivon Sov Sov Sov) - Hana Laszlo

This charming Chanukah ditty is a kids’ favourite. It describes the traditional Jewish game of spinning the dreidel (known in Hebrew as a Sevivon). The legend goes that in the times when studying Torah was prohibited in Greek occupied Judea, the Torah scholars would have these spinning tops to hand and so that they could explain to potential Greek authorities inspecting that they were gambling with the dreidels, as opposed to engaging in religious practice. The modern game is often played with sweets, with each side of the dreidel being represented by a different letter engendering a different outcome of either losing or gaining sweets. Even this has a symbolic purpose during the festival. The Hebrew letters on the side stand for Nes Gadol Haya Po (‘the great miracle happened here’) – lyrics which feature in the song.


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