We have all seen that some people stand for havdala and others sit – what's the argument about?
The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Haim 296,6) holds that havdala should be said sitting down. This is based on the need to have some type of connection between all the people hearing havdala – that they should all be joined together as a group in order for the blessings to cover them all. In fact the Tosafot (Brachot 43) mentions that it is better to say havdala sitting in order that the blessing over the wine, which is a bracha over food, include all those present; as blessings on food generally only "cover" others when there is a fixed gathering, such as being seated together. (Although Tosafot does justify the custom to stand also).
On the other hand, the Rema writes, quoting the Kol Bo and the Orchot Haim, that havdala should be said standing. This is because havdala is said to accompany the Shabbat out. Just as we stand when accompanying a King, so too should we stand when accompanying the departing Shabbat. This opinion explains that because they have all come together for havdala, even though they are standing, it is enough to consider the blessings as covering everyone (Tosafot ibid).
Two interesting results of this argument are – firstly, if one is making havdala just for oneself, according to both reasons it would make sense to stand. The reason to sit was in order for others present to be included in the bracha, but here there is no one else, so it is more logical to stand (see Mishna Brurah ibid, 26). Secondly, if no one else wants to drink the wine other than the person making havdala, it would also be better to stand to accompany the Shabbat out with honor, as the main need to create a fixed group is for the wine bracha to cover everybody, as opposed to the other blessings over the mitzvot which don't require such a fixed grouping (Piskay Tshuvot).
In practice, people tend to say havdala either always sitting or always standing – and both of these customs have reliable rabbinic bases; one should continue one's family or community custom. However all agree that it is preferable to actually drink the havdala wine when sitting.
שיעורים נוספים ניתן למצוא בקטגוריות הבאות: הלכה
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