dayan

Alternative Spellings

dayyan, dayen

Definitions

  • a rabbinic judge who may directly question and cross-examine witnesses
  • a judge who sits and adjudicates cases involving religious practices or spiritual matters

Example Sentences

  • "What I am trying to say is that the dayan receives Divine assistance when he is weighing the case before him, so that he will pasken correctly." (from The Seraph of Brisk: Reb Yehoshua Leib Diskin by Shalom Meir Wallach)

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew

Etymology

Heb. דיין dayán (Israeli/Sepharic) or dáyen (Ashkenazic/Yiddish) 'judge'; plural דיינים dayaním (Israeli/Sephardic) or dayónim, dayúnim (Ashkenazic/Yiddish)

Who Uses This

Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)

Dictionaries

The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

Notes

The word is related to דין din, Hebrew for judgment or a ruling, and בית דין bet din, a religious court.

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