10. Every student whose attitudes are finely honed does not speak
in front of anyone who is wiser than he, even if he never learned
anything from him.
Q1: Is this a new category - "the student whose attitudes are
finely honed"? If so, how is it defined?
YE: R does use this type of term in a few places (De'ot 2:7,
Nedarim 13:23) and he seems to be indicating the ideal of the
*metron ariston* (Golden Mean). It is generally defined by R
(first three chapters of De'ot) as the exact middle between
extremes in behavior and emotions. This is a huge
oversimplification and that section of De'ot is highly
Q2: Is R saying that such students will not behave this way,
and that it is symptomatic of "a finely honed character" - or
that this is one of the criteria for being considered a student
of such character?
YE: In De'ot 2:5, R develops the theme of "limited and quality
speech" as a criterion for the ideal character; our Halakha may
be an extension of that principle.