Standing During Aseret HaDibrot

The Daily Halacha Moment - Standing & During Aseret HaDibrot 📖


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

Should one stand during the reciting of the Aseret HaDibrot on Shavuot?


Answer:

I would like to start off with some background on the topic. The Rambam, Teshuvot (Freeman, Yerushalayim 5694), siman 46 and Rambam, Orchot, siman 263 state that one should not stand up for the Aseret HaDibrot, since it encourages heretics to think that the Aseret HaDibrot are greater than the rest of the Torah when, in reality, every word of the Torah is equally important. Some poskim say that this is no longer applicable for several reasons: First, as Yaskil Avdi 7:1 says, since the Rambam did not record this halachah in Mishnah Torah, we may assume that it was not a conclusive Halachic decision. This is also the view of Tzitz Eliezer 17:26, which also discusses this topic at length. Additionally, Rabbi Shalom Messas, Shemesh U’Magen, vol. 1, 57; ibid., vol. 2, 18:55; ibid., Hashmatot, 4; ibid., vol. 3:48; ibid. 55:3; ibid., Y.D. 49:6; and Ibid., vol. 4, 57 point out that nowadays it is rare to find heretics who would come to such conclusions. See also Rabbi Yitzchak Chazzan, Yechaveh Daat 3:13. Thirdly, some poskim say that the Rambam was only referring to the annual readings of parashat Yitro and Va’etchanan, when the Aseret HaDibrot are not read with a special tune. On Shavuot, though, when we read the Aseret HaDibrot with a special tune, we try to reenact the feeling of mattan Torah, and we stand during the Aseret HaDibrot just as Bnei Yisrael did. Furthermore, some add that we should not discontinue this age-old custom because of heretics. See Hilchot Chag BaChag, Minhagei Shavuot, ch. 8, footnote 92 and the sefer Harerei Kedem 2:117, which also state this conclusion. See also Chida, Tuv Ayin §11; Igrot Moshe, O.C. 4:22; Toledano, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, p. 136; Halichot Shlomo, Tefillah 12:30; Mishneh Halachot 11:118; and Orchot Rabbenu, vol. 1, p. 120:85, which point out that the custom is to stand during the recitation of the Aseret HaDibrot. However; Maran Morenu Ovadia Yosef, on the other hand, writes in Yabia Omer 8:15; Yechaveh Daat, vol. 1, 29; ibid., vol. 6, 8; Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, p.314; and Ibid., Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 260 that the Rambam’s words still apply for several reasons: First, the Rambam’s omission of this halachah in _Mishnah Torah_ does not necessarily indicate that it is not conclusive. Second, such heretics are still common, such as many in the Reform movement who believe that the Aseret HaDibrot have more significance than the rest of the Torah. Therefore, he says, one should refrain from standing during the Aseret HaDibrot. See also Yalkut Yosef (5773 edition), Shabbat, book 1, vol. 4, pages 363 & 621. This is also the opinion of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, as cited in Ashrei HaIsh, O.C., vol. 3, 66:4 and in Hilchot Chag BaChag, ch. 8, footnote 92. See also Chessed LaAlafim 135:14 and Kaf HaChaim 494:30.


Summary:

Some communities have the custom to stand during the recitation of the Aseret HaDibrot. One should not follow this custom, especially if the rabbis of the community are sitting and one will appear haughty by standing in front of them. However, one may stand to honor his father or rabbi who is called to the Torah for the aliyah of the Aseret HaDibrot.


If one is praying with a minyan in which everyone is standing, he should stand from the beginning of the aliyah so as to avoid showing preference to the Aseret HaDibrot. [1]


Sources:

[1]. See Chida, Tuv Ayin §11; Igrot Moshe, O.C. 4:22; Teshuvot VeHanhagot 1:144; Nitei Gavriel, Shavuot 25:6; Ishei Yisrael 38:20; and Yechaveh Daat 6:8, which state that one should try to stand at the beginning of either the aliyah or the parashah. See also Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 3, 66:4, which says that one may even stand a few pesukim before the Aseret HaDibrot. See also Piskei Teshuvot 146:6, footnote 30. See Laws of The Holidays - Nacson p. 177.


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