A happy Adar to all!

The משנה in אבות says "הֱוֵי קַל לָרֹאשׁ", on which the רע״ב writes:

לפני אדם גדול זקן ויושב בראש בישיבה, הוי קל לעבוד עבודתו ולשמש לפניו

Thus we see that one should exercise קלות ראש in a ישיבה (i.e., בית מדרש).

Yet the גמרא in מגילה says

בתי כנסיות אין נוהגין בהן קלות ראש
and we know from רב פפי (whose opinion the גמרא says makes the most sense, q.v.) that a בית מדרש is even greater than a בית כנסת, so קלות ראש is certainly forbidden in a בית מדרש!

How do we resolve this apparent contradiction?

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closed as too localized by Isaac Moses Mar 12 '12 at 5:14

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The באר היטב answers as follows:

The conclusion of the גמרא is

אין נוהגין בהן קלות ראש ומאי ניהו חשבונות
Remember what the רע״ב wrote: that it is appropriate to exercise קלות ראש by serving the ראש ישיבה. That's true, but not if you're doing it because you have some sort of חשבונות.

Biographical note:

The source for this answer is the באר היטב. This is not the Baer Hetev ("explain well"), written by Rav Y'huda Ashkenazi, but the B'er Hetev ("well well"), written by Rav Shmerl Almoni when he was a chaplain for the Army Corps of Engineers. He authored many other works, including Halel Nirtza on the merits of being a Jewish servant. He died young, לא עלינו, leaving his wife pregnant with identical quadruplet boys, each of whom grew up to be a great תלמיד חכם. She named them after the ברכות יעקב: Binyamin Vulf, Y'huda Leib, Naftali Hirsch, and Yisachar Eizl.

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