I Have a Little Dreidel

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Main article: Hanukkah music

"I Have a Little Dreidel"[1] (also known as "The Dreidel Song"[1] or "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel") is a children's Chanukah song in the English speaking world which also exists in a Yiddish version called "Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl", (Yiddish: איך בין אַ קלײנער דרײדל Lit: I am a little dreidel). The song is about making a dreidel and playing with it.

History[edit]

The lyricist for the English version is Samuel S. Grossman[1] and the composer of the English version is listed as Samuel Goldfarb (also S. E. Goldfarb).[1] The Yiddish version was both written and composed by Mikhl Gelbart, but he listed the author as Ben Arn, a pseudonym referring to himself as the son of Aaron. There is a question about who composed this music, as the melody for both the Yiddish and the English versions are precisely the same. Mikhl Gelbart[1] (Yiddish: : מיכל געלבאַרט[1]) (pseudonym Ben Arn[2]). The English version of the song is strongly associated with the festival of Chanukah. The meaning of the lyrics to the Yiddish and English versions is largely the same. However, in English the singer sings about a dreidel, whereas in Yiddish the singer is the dreidel. In the Yiddish version, the dreidel is made out of "blay" (Yiddish: בלײַ), which is lead, which is historically accurate, and in the English version it is made out of clay.

Versions[edit]

English version
I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.

When it's dry and hard, then dreidel I shall play.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play.

It has a lovely body, with legs so short and thin.

When it gets all tired, it drops and then I win!
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, with leg so short and thin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it drops and then I win!

My dreidel's always playful. It loves to dance and spin.

A happy game of dreidel, come play now let's begin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it loves to dance and spin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel. Come play now let's begin.

I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.

When it's dry and ready, dreidel I shall play.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made you out of clay.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play.

Yiddish version Transliteration Translation

איך בין אַ קליינער דריידל, געמאַכט בין איך פון בלײַ.
קומט לאָמיר אַלע שפּילן, אין דריידל – איינס, צוויי, דרײַ.
אוי, דריידל, דריידל, דריידל, אוי, דריי זיך, דריידל, דריי.
טאָ לאָמיר אַלע שפּילן, אין דריידל, איינס און צוויי.

Ikh bin a kleyner dreydl, gemakht bin ikh fun blay.

Kumt lomir ale shpiln, in dreydl – eyns tsvey dray.
Oy, dreydl, dreydl, dreydl, Oy, drey zikh, dreydl, drey.
To lomir ale shpiln, in dreydl eyns un tsvey.

I am a little dreidel, I am made from lead.

Come let's all play dreidel – one two three.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, oh, dreidel, dreidel, spin.
So let's all play dreidel, one and two.

און איך האָב ליב צו טאַנצן, זיך דרייען אין אַ ראָד.
טאָ לאָמיר אַלע טאַנצן אַ דריידל-קאַראַהאָד.
אוי, דריידל, דריידל, דריידל, אוי, דריי זיך, דריידל, דריי.
טאָ לאָמיר אַלע שפּילן, אין דריידל, איינס און צוויי.

Un ikh hob lib tsu tantsn, zikh dreyen in a rod

To lomir ale tantsn, a dreydl-karahod.
Oy, dreydl, dreydl, dreydl, oy, drey zikh, dreydl, drey.
To lomir ale shpiln, in dreydl eyns un tsvey.

And I love to dance, to spin in a circle.

So let's all dance a dreidel-circle.
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, oh dreidel, dreidel, spin.
So let's all play dreidel, one and two.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f University of Pennsylvania Library: Freedman Collection of Recorded Jewish Music
  2. ^ Lori Cahan-Simon Ensemble / Vessel of Song: The Music of Mikhl Gelbart

See also[edit]