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Moed Katan, 27

MOED KATAN 26 & 27 - dedicated by Mr. Avi Berger of Queens, N.Y. in memory of his parents, Pinchas ben Reb Avraham Yitzchak, and Leah bas Michal Mordechai.


OPINIONS: The Gemara quotes Rebbi Yochanan who says that everyone must rise for a Nasi, except for an Avel and a Choleh. Rebbi Yochanan adds that we tell everyone to sit down except for an Avel and Choleh. What are the reasons for these Halachos?
(a) Regarding why an Avel and Choleh do not have to stand for a Nasi, the simple understanding is that since they are so weak and dejected, they are not obligated to rise since it is so uncomfortable for them. When the Torah commands us to stand up in honor of a Nasi, it does not require us to undergo excessive duress in order to do so.

REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in Shulchan Aruch YD 376), though, suggests that there is more to it. The Mitzvah to stand up for a Nasi requires that we stand in a way which shows respect, a "Kimah sh'Yesh Bah Hidur" (Kidushin 31a). There is no display of respect when an Avel or Choleh stands up for someone. According to this reasoning, even if the Avel or Choleh wants to be stringent and stand up for the Nasi, there is no reason to do so because he does not fulfill the Mitzvah by standing up (whereas according to the simple understanding mentioned above, it could be that if he wants to stand up for the Nasi, he does fulfill a Mitzvah).

(b) There are several explanations for why we do not tell an Avel or Choleh to sit down:

1. Most Rishonim (RASHI, TOSFOS, and others) explain that Rebbi Yochanan is referring to the Halachah he mentioned previously, that an Avel and Choleh do not have to stand for a Nasi. Rebbi Yochanan is teaching that if they did stand, they do not have to wait to sit down. That is, the Gemara in Horayos (13b) says when standing for a Nasi, one must remain standing until the Nasi tells him that he may be seated. One may not sit until he is given permission. This does not apply, though, to an Avel or a Choleh, who do not have to wait until they are told to sit down, since they were not obligated to stand up in the first place.

(The CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN cites a Girsa which is the opposite of the Girsa in our texts. The Girsa that he cites says that "we do *not* tell anyone to sit down, *except* for an Avel or a Choleh." The meaning of this Girsa, though, is the same as our Girsa. It means that when the people stand for a Nasi, *we* may not tell them to sit, since they must wait until the Nasi tells them to sit, while we *may* tell an Avel and Choleh to sit down if they want to sit, since they do not have to wait for the Nasi to tell them.)

2. The RAMBAM has an entirely different explanation. He explains that the second statement of Rebbi Yochanan has nothing to do with his first statement. Rather, *anytime* an Avel or Choleh is standing we do not tell him "sit down," because the word "Shev" ("sit") can be interpreted to mean "return," and it would sound as though we are saying to the Avel, "Return to your state of mourning," or to the Choleh, "Return to your illness!" We do not tell them "sit" so that it not be misinterpreted as being rude.

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