Respecting a Sefer Torah

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Everyone is obligated to honor a Sefer Torah. One should be in a state of seriousness and awe in front of the Sefer Torah as it serves as a testament to the world of Judaism. [1]

Placement and Storage

  1. There is a mitzvah to designate a place for the Sefer Torah.[2]
  2. It is forbidden to turn over the klaf on the Sefer Torah so that it is should face down. If it is found overturned, it should be turned face up.[3]
  3. It is forbidden to place a Sefer Torah on the ground.[4]
  4. It is forbidden to sit on the same area where a Sefer Torah is placed.[5]
  5. A person shouldn't put a Sefer Torah on his lap and rest his elbows on it.[6]

Inappropriate Behavior in Front of Sefer Torah

  1. It is forbidden to spit in front of a Sefer Torah.[7]
  2. It is forbidden to undress in front of a Sefer torah.[8]

Transporting a Sefer Torah

  1. It is forbidden to bring a Sefer Torah into a bathroom, bathhouse, or cemetery even if it is in its case.[9]
  2. It is forbidden to carry a Sefer Torah on one's head as though it was a burden or behind one's back unless it is raised 10 tefachim.[10]
  3. It is forbidden to throw a Sefer Torah.[11]

Touching the Klaf

  1. It is forbidden to hold the klaf of a Sefer Torah without a cloth or Tallit intervening.[12]

Standing for the Sefer Torah

  1. One must stand for a sefer torah when it is being carried around out of respect for it. [13]
  2. If the aron kodesh is open and the sefer torah inside is at rest, some poskim say that one must still stand up. [14] Others are lenient. [15]
  3. There is a discussion in the poskim if one must stand for a pasul sefer torah. [16]

Disposing of a Sefer Torah

  1. A worn out Sefer Torah must be placed in an earthenware container and buried near a Talmid Chacham.[17]
  2. It is forbidden to burn a Sefer Torah or any holy Sefer even if it is worn out.[18]

Sources

  1. Shulchan Aruch YD 282:1
  2. Shulchan Aruch YD 282:1
  3. Rama 282:5
  4. Rama 282:7
  5. Shulchan Aruch YD 282:7
  6. Rama YD 282:7
  7. Shulchan Aruch YD 282:1
  8. Shulchan Aruch YD 282:1
  9. Shulchan Aruch YD 282:4
  10. Shulchan Aruch YD 282:1
  11. Shulchan Aruch YD 282:5
  12. Shulchan Aruch YD 282:4
  13. Rambam Tefillin Mezuza and Sefer Torah 10:9, Sh"t Rashba 3:281, Shulchan Aruch YD 282:2, Gemara Kiddushin 33b says that just as one must stand for a talmid chacham, one certainly must stand for a sefer torah.
  14. Sh"t Chatam Sofer CM 73
  15. Iggerot Moshe 5:38:4. Taz YD 242:13 writes that if the torah is in the aron kodesh or on the bimah, it is in a different reshut and one doesn't need to stand
  16. While Aruch Hashulchan YD 282:4 is lenient, Noda Biyehuda YD 71 (quoted in Piskei Teshuvot 146) is strict. Rav Chaim Kanievsky (Dirshu Mishna Brura 146:note 19) says that there is no obligation to stand but the minhag is to stand.
  17. Shulchan Aruch YD 282:10
  18. Pitchei Teshuva 282:6