Learning Oruch Hashulchan O Ch 102 (9), my chavrusa and I could not understand the second paragraph here. The subject is whether one may sit next to someone saying the Amidah in synagogue. The first paragraph says the sitter must stand even if were sitting there before the other came.

The first part of the second paragraph says that this applies even if the sitter sits in his assigned place. The second part seems to say that someone learning does not have to stand. We do not understand the difference.

סימן קב סעיף ט

ויש אומרים דזהו דווקא בביתו. אבל במקומות המיוחדים לתפילה כמו בית הכנסת, אפילו היושב ישב כבר – מחויב לעמוד (ב"ח ומגן אברהם סעיף קטן ד'). דכיון שהם מקומות המיוחדים לתפילה – לא שייך לומר שעשה זה שלא כהוגן במה שעמד להתפלל אצל היושב, דלאו כל כמיניה של היושב לבטל את זה מלהתפלל במקום זה? וממילא שזה מחויב לעמוד.

ואפילו יש לו מקום מיוחד בבית הכנסת ויושב עליו – צריך לעמוד. אך זהו וודאי כשלומד, דאינו צריך לקום אף לדעת הטור דתורה אינה פוטרת העמידה, מכל מקום בכהאי גוונא דהוא קדים לישב דאינו צריך לעמוד. ואפילו מידת חסידות ליכא

Please help.

  • 1) previously, the Tur stated that someone already sitting is under no obligation to stand, as it was improper for the prayer to start next to one who is sitting. 2) it is meritorious for the sitter to stand in response to circumvent this impropriety. 3) because a shul is a makom tefillah, this consideration of the sitter does not hold 4) but one who is learning Torah isn't failing to accept the yoke of heaven (the reason it is disrespectful to sit) and thus there is absolutely no requirement that they stand in response to someone starting to pray next to them. Sep 27, 2017 at 20:36
  • @IsaacKotlicky Good, and what does תורה אינה פוטרת העמידה mean please? Sep 27, 2017 at 20:40
  • (I think the placement of the comma is confusing and possibly erroneous, btw) That may be a reference to the halachic discussion re: whether one engaged in Torah study is exempt from davening. If what I'm saying is correct, the Tur holds that the obligation to pray supersedes the Torah study you're currently doing and therefore would nominally require standing but for the fact your seated study preceded the prayer. Sep 27, 2017 at 20:47
  • The place is not only to pray but also to learn, to sit and learn implies that if you stand, there will be vital Tora
    – kouty
    Sep 27, 2017 at 21:03
  • See say Daley אבל כשמתפלל או לומד – הרי עוסק בדברי קדושה
    – kouty
    Sep 27, 2017 at 21:05

1 Answer 1



In general, one may not be seated in the presence of someone who is saying the amidah, as it is considered disrespectful. (Either because he appears unwilling to accept ol malchut shamayim (Aruch Hashulchan OC 102:3) or because the area around one who is praying is considered holy (Aruch Hashulchan OC 102:4)).

1. There is a debate regarding sitting down to learn torah in the presence of someone else praying; some hold that this is permitted as it does not connote disrespect to the prayer, as he is also involved in a form of kabbalat ol malchut shamayim and/or holy matters, but Tur holds it is forbidden, as it still conveys disrespect. (Aruch Hashulchan OC 102:3 - 4)

[This is what is being referred to later in 102:9 as דעת הטור דתורה אינה פוטרת העמידה - the Tur's view that (in general) Torah study does not exempt one from standing.]

2. What happens if the sitter was sitting first, and then the prayer started praying? The strict letter of the law is that we say that is the prayer's fault for starting to pray in the sitter's presence, and the sitter is exempt from standing, as there is no disrespect implied (Aruch Hashulchan OC 102:8).

The Aruch HaShulchan in OC 102:9

Aruch HaShulchan starts by noting that some limit the exemption in point 2 above (where the sitter was already sitting) to a private home. However, in a synagogue, where by definition people come to pray, we cannot fault the prayer for starting to pray in the pre-sitter's presence, and so the sitter must stand, even though he was sitting first.

However, if the sitter was sitting first, and was also studying torah, we do not invoke the Tur's stringency (discussed in point 1 above) to say that he must stand. Rather, here, where he is sitting first and engaged in Torah study, he need not stand.

My own thoughts

From the Aruch HaShulchan's words, it is unclear to me why the Tur's stringency does not apply in this case. I have two possible explanations:

a. We don't want to apply a double stringency: i) Torah study does not exempt standing (the stringency of the Tur) and ii) sitting first is not an exemption from standing in a synagogue;


b. The rationale for requiring a pre-sitting sitter to stand in a synagogue (because the prayer can reasonably expect to enter a synagogue and pray without being prevented by those sitting there and doing nothing) is not relevant here where the pre-sitter is behaving appropriately by sitting and learning. Thus, the prayer should not have started praying next to the one already sitting down, and therefore the sitter does not have to stand.

  • Nice, but you're ignoring (i.e. I can't see) where you relate to the his assigned seat that the AhSh is using as the added requirement for the leniency of not getting up if you were seated first. (as I read it.) Oct 4, 2018 at 9:50
  • I don't think he's saying that. He first points out that sitting in your assigned seat is not a heter to allow you to remain sitting, even if you were sitting there first. When he then says אך זהו וודאי כשלומד וכו, I don't think that's specifically referring to a case where you're sitting and learning in your assigned seat. He's talking about all cases where you were sitting first and also learning.
    – Joel K
    Oct 4, 2018 at 10:01

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