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Rambam

Rambam

Rabbi Yitzchok Etshalom
Talmud Torah 6:2

2. We do not stand in his presence in a bathhouse or lavatory, as it says: "You shall rise...and show *Hiddur*..." - [indicating only] rising which shows a deference [and honor]. Tradespeople/artisans are not obligated to stand in the presence of *Talmidei Hakhamim* while they are at work as it says: "You shall rise...and show *Hiddur*...", just as *Hiddur* involves no financial loss, so "standing" means standing which involves no financial loss.

How do we know that one should not close his eyes so as not to see the scholar in order not to stand in his presence? Since it says: "and you shall fear your God" (Vayyiqra [Leviticus] 19:32b) - any matter which is dependent on the individual's conscience is followed with "and you shall fear your God" .

Q1: Why is standing up in a bathhouse or lavatory not considered "deference"?

YE: See answer to Q1 on Halakha 1 above.

Q2: How do we know that *Hiddur* involves no financial loss?

YE: R's rendition is an abridged version of the Gemara in Kiddushin (33a): "Just as *Hiddur* involves no wasted time (Rashi: the verb *Hader* in the Bible always implies some form of deference - financial or honorific - but never time wasted on the part of the person giving *Hiddur*) - so rising involves no wasted time; Just as *Kima* (rising) involves no financial outlay, so *Hiddur* involves no financial outlay." The reasoning is as follows: The two verbs, *Hiddur* and *Kima* are juxtaposed, so that they inform one another. Just as we already know that *Hiddur* involves no wasted time (fromt he way the word is used elsewhere), so *Kima* must involve no wasted time. Hence, we are not obligated to rise in honor of a scholar while at work, as that would involve wasting time from work. We then turn it around: Just as we now know that rising must involve no financial outlay (=wasted time at work), so the same with *Hiddur* - which now must mean honorifics, not financial deference. R abridges the phrasing, since we understand that in this context, *Hiddur* must mean pure honor, without financial loss, we can then turn that meaning towards *Kima*.

Q3: If someone actually did close his eyes, would he be exempt from standing up? If so, why isn't this a legitimate option? If not, what does he gain by closing his eyes?

YE: Minhat Hinuch (#257) is of the opinion that a blind person is obligated to rise in the presence of a scholar (although he cites differing opinions) - which would seem to indicate that closing your eyes doesn't exempt you from standing. As to what he gains by closing his eyes? - others around him may think him guiltless since he "doesn't know" that the scholar is there. That's why the verse ends with the reminder "fear your God" - even though others may not know, God surely does.

Rambam, Copyright (c) 1999 Project Genesis, Inc.

 

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