DIN (from "dun," to argue, to judge; a synonym for "mishpaṭ"):

Signifies (1) argument; (2) judgment; (3) laws and rules which form the basis of arguments and judgments; (4) justice, the object ofthe judgment; (5) punishment, the execution of the judgment. The term is generally used in connection with proceedings in a court of law. "Din" is declared by Rabbi Simon ben Gamaliel (Ab. i.) to be one of the three things to which "the world owes its stability": truth, judgment—that is, authority vested in a person or persons to decide litigation—and peace. The judge who performs his duties conscientiously and delivers "din emet" (true judgment) is as great as if he had taken part in the creation of the world (Shab. 10).

The first lesson taught by the men of the Great Synagogue was, "Be slow in din"; i.e., do not hurry to decide a question before it has been fully considered (Ab. i. 1). But on the other hand, the Rabbis warn also against the opposite and not less serious evil of unnecessarily protracting the legal proceedings, or holding back the final decision, and denounce it as "'innui ha-din" (suppression of judgment). Distinguished from "'innui ha-din" is "'iwwut ha-din" (perversion of justice) (Ab. v. 11). The parties are recommended not to stand on their rights, and he is praised as a good person who keeps "lifnim mishurat ha-din" (within the line of the right)—that is, who resigns part of his right for the sake of peace.

There may, again, be cases in which strict adherence to the law entails undeserved hardships. Rabbi Eliezer holds in such cases, "yiḳḳob ha-din et hahar" (lit. "let the law pierce the mountain"): the law must be carried out whatever the consequences (Yeb. 92a). The legal proceedings differ according as the case is a mere question of properṭy ("dine mammonot") or involves a criminal or even a capital charge ("dine ḳenasot" or, "dine nefashot"). Cases of the latter kind are not tried outside Palestine, and not on Friday nor on the eve of a holy day. In "dine mammonot" the highest member, in "dine nefashot" the lowest member, of the court is first to give an opinion (Maimonides, "Mishneh Torah," xiv.; Sanh. xi., 1 et seq.).

S. S. M. F.
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