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From what I have seen, other than tachanun (nefilat apayim) the chazzan stands for the entire davening. Why is this so? Why not sit for things like krias shema?

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My guess is practical -- between needing a place to put that chair and needing to be visible/audible to the kehal enough for people to know where he is, it's probably easier to just stand. Assuming he does sit down for leining, it's not that long to just stand for most services. – Monica Cellio Jun 23 '13 at 4:39
See perhaps Megillah 21a – Double AA Jun 23 '13 at 8:06
They don't call it an "Amud" for nothing. – Menachem Jun 23 '13 at 19:50
Kabvod hazibur would be my guess. BTW I have seen Chazzonim with health issues sit during parts of the Chazzoras Hashatz on Yomim Noraim. – Danny Schoemann Jun 24 '13 at 9:26
Are we specifically talking about Ashkenazim? – WAF Nov 19 '13 at 12:22

This is addressed by the gemarah Yerushalmi Sotah 7:4 which learns the idea out of the pasuk in Devarim 27:26

אָרוּר, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָקִים אֶת-דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה-הַזֹּאת

The gemarah explains that the standing (up) of the torah implies that the Chazzan should stand.

ארור אשר לא יקים את דברי התורה הזאת. וכי יש תורה נופלת. שמעון בן יקים אומר זה החזן שהוא עומד.

CF Ramban ad loc who seems to apply this only to the lifting of the torah (hagbah) but I believe the plain reading of the gemarah supports my answer.

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He is the the Shliach - the emissary - to the King, so to speak, and a emissary always stands before a king.

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Interesting... A source would improve the quality of this answer. – Danny Schoemann Jun 8 '14 at 8:18

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