As we have learned before, in preparation for the korban Pesah individuals or families needed to join together in groups to bring and subsequently eat the sacrifice. Once established, two groups are not allowed to join together, nor can an individual switch from one group to another.
Mishna: Two groups that were eating one Paschal lamb in one house need not be concerned that they will appear to be one group. Rather, these turn their faces this way and eat, and these turn their faces that way and eat…And the bride, who is embarrassed to eat in the presence of men she does not know, turns her face away from her group and eats, although this may make it seem as though she is part of a different group.
With that halakha as a springboard, the Gemara tells a story about Rav Huna the son of Rav Natan who visited Rav Nahman bar Yitzhak and behaved in what appeared to be an uncouth manner –
He agreed to sit immediately without first offering a polite refusal
He accepted a cup of wine, again without an initial polite refusal
He drank it in just two sips
He looked directly at his hosts without diverting his gaze.
When asked how he could behave so poorly, and still call himself a Rabbi, he explained each of his actions based on a statement from the Talmud.
The Sages teach:
You should do whatever the host tells you to do, unless he commands you tzei (leave).
While it is appropriate to decline an offer made by someone of little stature, you should accept what someone of high stature offers you.
Someone who drinks a cup in one gulp is a guzzler; it is appropriate to drink in two swallows; three sips shows that you are haughty.
A bride turns away from the other guests; others do not.
The first comment, that you should listen to what your host commands, ends with an odd statement “unless he commands you – tzei,” to the extent that the Meiri argues that they do not belong in the Gemara and should be removed.
Most commentaries do find explanations, however.
The Perisha argues that this means that if the host asks you to leave, you are not obligated to do so right away if it will be embarrassing to you.
The Magen Avraham explains that you are supposed to listen to your host unless he asks you to do something that would necessitate leaving the house.
According to the Maharsha, once the host asks you to leave, you are no longer his guest and do not need to listen to him any longer.
Some see the word tzei as an abbreviation. The letters tzadi – alef might stand for:
Tzad issur – unless you are asked to do something that might be forbidden.
Tzeduki-Apikores – unless the host is someone who denies the Torah
Tzarhei Ishto – unless you are asked to involve yourself in matters pertaining to the wife of your host.