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
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
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