Standing for the Brachot of the Megillah



Shalom Rav!
IN our bet Haknesset everyone stands when they say the Brachot of the Megillah. Then there is chaos s everyone moves their chairs and tries to sit and be quiet before he Chazzan starts the megillah. Do I actually need to stand up for the Brachot or can we just sit and listen and avoid the big confusion?



It all depends on the Minhag, the custom of the Bet Knesset you pray in, whether to stand or sit during he Berachot. However, it is not correct for one individual to change from the custom of the Tzibbur, rather he must follow what everyone else does.

The Mishna in Megillah 21a:On must read the Megillah standing or siting.
Rashi explains it means if you want you may stand, or else you can sit.
The tur (690) understand that the Mishna is only discussing Bdiavad, but ideally one stand for reading the Megillah. The Rambam however rules like the Yerushalmi (Megillah ch4 Halacha 1) that one may sit even Lechatchila, however he adds that for Kavod of the Tzibbur he should stand.
This is the discussion about whether the Megillah should be read standing or sitting. Regarding the bracha the Magen Avraham (490:1) quotes the Shulchan Aruch in Siman 8:1,”Wrap oneself in Tzitzit and make  a bracha standing up. The Magen Avraham writes  just as by Tzitzit one must stand fo the bracha so to the brachot of Kriat HaMegiillah (and other Brachot of Mitzvot as well.)

The Magen Avraham asks though from a Mishna in Challah. The Mishna in Challah 2:4 says that women may sit and separate challah with a bracha.  And so, rules the Shulchan Aruch in YOD 328:1. So we see that one can make a bracha siting.  The Magen Avraham answers that separating Challah isn’t such a big mitzvah and tit really just  a way to make the dough edible like Shechita, so it doesn’t require standing during its bracha.

Other Poskim argue that we don’t have to stand for every bracha, just those whose mitzvah itself we must stand for, like Shofar nad putting on Tzitzit, Lulav etc. The Artzot Hachayim (Malbim), Mor UKetziah and the Chachmat Shlomo. This would answer the question by Challah, once there is no reason for a woman to stand when taking Challah there is no obligation to stand. We saw  there is no obligation to read the megillah standing except maybe for the honor for the Tzibur but it not an integral part of the mitzvah. It would come out an argument between the Magen Avraham and the other Poskim. According the Magen Avrohom who requires standing by all Bircat Hamitzvot so too here. According to the other Poskim he doesn’t have to stand while reciting the bracha since there is no obligation to read the Megillah standing.

This is only applicable to the Baal Koreh. What is the halacha by the Tzibur itself?
The Machatzit Hashekel (690:1)rules they must stand during the Brachot. Since the Bal Koreh is doing the Mitzvah for everyone through Shomea K’oneh, listening is considered as if you are saying the brachas yourselves. Therefore, according to the Magen Avraham, just as the Baal Koreh must say the brachot standing so too the Tzibbur must stand during the bracha. They must do the same as the chazzan.

The Rambam in Hilchot Shofar 3:10 implies that listeners don’t have to do the same as the performer fo the mitzvah: the simple custom in blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashana in the Tzibur is that after we read the Torah the nation sits down, and one person stands up and makes the bracha of Tekiat Shofar. Since there are so many opinions whether one should stand or sit during the Brachot. Especially since this is all a question of Lechatchila, so the Yalkut Yosef rules each et Knesset according to their Minhag. 
Of course, if most of the Tzibbur stands, that it is the custom there, one should not be different and sit rather he should stand with the rest of the Tzibbur because of Lo Titgodudo, do not separate yourself from the tzibbur.