web analytics
July 6, 2015 / 19 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Dreidel For Dollars

Business-Halacha-logo

“A bunch of us are getting together on Motzaei Shabbos for a Chanukah party,” Shraga told his friend Pinchas. “Would you like to come?”

“Sure! I’d love to,” exclaimed Pinchas. “What are you doing at the party?”

“You know, the usual,” answered Shraga. “Divrei Torah, of course; singing, jelly doughnuts, latkes, dreidel and other games. If you want to prepare a dvar Torah and a game, that would be great.”

“OK, will do,” said Pinchas. “And what about bringing stuff? What should I bring?”

“The doughnuts and latkes are already taken care of,” said Shraga. “You can bring drinks, if you like. Also, if you have pennies, bring them along for the dreidel game.”

“Pennies?! Pennies are passé,” Pinchas said, wrinkling his nose. “Let’s play for real with dollars! If ten of us each bring 20 dollars, that’s a grand pot of 200 dollars!”

“I don’t know about that,” said Shraga. “It sounds like gambling to me.”

“Why is that gambling? Doesn’t everyone play dreidel on Chanukah?” asked Pinchas. “What’s the difference between pennies and dollars?”

“First of all, not everyone plays for keeps,” said Shraga. “Second, it feels different when dealing with small sums or within the family.”

“Maybe it feels different, but that not a logical, halachic distinction,” replied Pinchas. “Either it’s permitted or it’s not!”

“I’ll tell you what,” said Shraga. “Rabbi Dayan invited us over to a Chanukah party tomorrow night. We’ll ask him then.”

The next night Shraga asked Rabbi Dayan: “Can a bunch of friends play dreidel for keeps with dollars?”

“This touches on an intricate topic called asmachta – a possibly insincere, conditional obligation,” said Rabbi Dayan. “Dreidel for money is permissible according to the Rama, but small sums are preferable.”

The talmidim perked up their ears.

“The Mishnah [Sanhedrin 24b] lists a dice gambler, mesachek b’kuvya, as disqualified from testifying,” explained Rabbi Dayan. “One explanation in the Gemara is that dice gambling is asmachta and is considered by the Sages a form of theft, because the parties are not sincere in their willingness to lose money. The other opinion maintains that dice gambling is not prohibited asmachta and that only an addicted gambler is disqualified, because he is not involved in productive worldly endeavors.”

“Why is gambling not asmachta according to the second opinion?” asked Shraga.

“Rashi explains that since the loser knows he has no control over the game and committed nonetheless, he is sincere in his conditional obligation,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Some require that the money also be placed up front on a shared table. Rabbeinu Tam explains that since each party has an equal chance of losing and winning, he is willing to lose in order to have the possibility of gaining.”

“What is the halacha?” asked Shraga.

“The Shulchan Aruch [C.M. 370:1-3], following the Rambam, writes that the Sages prohibited mesachek b’kuvya as a form of [rabbinic] theft,” answered Rabbi Dayan. “Even against a non-Jew, gambling is frowned upon as a waste of time. The Rama comments that the practice is not to consider dice gambling as theft, so that only an addicted gambler is disqualified. Elsewhere [C.M. 207:13], Rama addresses dice playing at length and cites the explanations of Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam to permit it. Playing dreidel for money is similar to dice playing, and would seem subject to this dispute between the Shulchan Aruch and Rama.” (See also Tefilla L’Moshe (Halevi) 5:58)

“What’s the difference between large and small sums?” asked Pinchas.

“Some suggest that small sums might be permitted even according to the Shulchan Aruch,” answered Rabbi Dayan, “since people are not particular about small sums [Y.D. 160:17; 162:1] and commit sincerely.”

“Is there any issue of playing dreidel for keeps within a family, where all the money is provided by the head of household, anyway?” asked Shraga.

“The Shulchan Aruch [O.C. 322:6] prohibits casting a lottery on different size pieces of meat, even during the week, because of kuvya,” replied Rabbi Dayan. “Even within a family, where all the food is provided by the head of household, some do not allow it, lest the children become accustomed to gambling with others or idle behavior [M.B. 322:22-23]. On Chanukah, when there is a custom to play dreidel, this should not be an issue, and certainly not according to the Rama, who is more lenient about kuvya.”

About the Author: Rabbi Meir Orlian is a faculty member of the Business Halacha Institute, headed by HaRav Chaim Kohn, a noted dayan. To receive BHI’s free newsletter, Business Weekly, send an e-mail to subscribe@businesshalacha.com. For questions regarding business halacha issues, or to bring a BHI lecturer to your business or shul, call the confidential hotline at 877-845-8455 or e-mail ask@businesshalacha.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Dreidel For Dollars”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
A minaret seen towering over the Mediterranean sea, near Tel Aviv-Yafo / Jaffa. (file)
EU Receives Warning ISIS Infiltrating Among Migrants
Latest Judaism Stories
17th_of_Tammuz_(medium)_(english)

17th of Tammuz: Beginning 3 weeks of mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Neihaus-070315

Without a foundation, one cannot hope to build a structure.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Why do we have a parsha in Sefer Shemos named after Yisro who was not only a former idolater, but actually served as a priest for Avodah Zarah!

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

More Articles from Rabbi Meir Orlian
Business-Halacha-NEW

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

Business-Halacha-NEW

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

“Is the invoice signed by the students?” asked the principal. “They said they didn’t get the pizza.”

“The answer depends on the terms of the purchase agreement and local customs,” replied Rabbi Dayan.

“I wasn’t really thinking,” replied Levi. “Things in the backyard usually don’t need watching. I also didn’t expect you to be away so long. One thing is clear, though: I never accepted responsibility for the cake.”

“What do you mean?” asked the secretary. “We already issued a ruling and closed the case.”

“A person who borrowed without a written loan document, even in the presence of witnesses, is believed with a heses – rabbinic – oath to say that he repaid,”

During the course of the year, though, political events in the Persian Gulf caused the cost of gasoline to rise. Prices climbed from $2.50 a gallon to $4.00.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/dreidel-for-dollars/2012/12/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: