sandak

Alternative Spellings

sandok, sandek, sanduk

Definitions

  • The person given the honor of assisting the mohel at the brit milah. The sandek may hold the child on his lap during the circumcision or, as is common today, just hold the baby for a moment in a symbolic fashion. The honor is often given to one of the baby's grandfathers or to another relative or close friend" (Eisenberg).

Example Sentences

  • "To act as sandak is a great honour. There is a tradition of appointing one of the child’s grandfathers as sandak" (https://www.thejc.com/judaism/jewish-words/sandak-1.4005).
  • "I recently had the great privilege of being the sandak at the brit mila of my great-grandson. As I sat in the 'chair of Elijah the Prophet' holding the baby, I had mixed emotions" (https://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Judaism/Tradition-Today-Being-a-sandak).
  • "I thought for a moment that the sandek was going to pass out, but he was just closing his eyes and saying something" (Glinert)

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew

Etymology

Hebrew סנדק 'sandak.'

Who Uses This

Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)
Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements

Dictionaries

The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)

Notes

Feminine form is 'sandakit.'

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