Respect for the Torah and for Torah Books
- A person who shows respect for the Torah will be honored
by others. If a person desecrates the Torah, his body will be desecrated by
others (Avos 84:47). Rashi explains that this pertains to sifrei Torah: a
person who shows respect for the Torah does not place it on a chair or a
bench, but in a holy place.
- A person is required to show respect for Torah books.
They should not be left around in a way that suggests that they were treated
as though they were not holy. He should also be careful not to put them in a
place from which they might fall or which suggests that they were not
treated with respect.
- The Chazon Ish writes that a person who puts a
Torah book in a place from which it might fall and be damaged causes damages
for which he must answer to G-d. And we should also consider the possibility
that it violates the prohibition of destroying the things of G-d as we are
required to destroy the cult objects of idolatry. Even a person who causes
such damage indirectly violates a rabbinic precept.
- A person who sees a Torah book in a place where it could
be damaged must remove it to a safe place. In doing this he is returning a
lost object. Similarly, if he sees a book in the hands of a child who does
not know how to treat it properly, he should take it and put in a safe
place. If that child is his son, the commandment to educate him requires him
to prevent him from violating the commandment which forbids treating books
disrespectfully or damaging them.
- Piles of Torah books that are left on tables and places
where they might be damaged bear witness to a lack of concern and a lack of
respect for Torah books. It is a terrible chilul Hashem.
- Torah books should be taken from their place and put down
gently and respectfully, certainly not by throwing them.
- A person should be careful not to put down a Torah book
face down, or to put in on a shelf upside down. If a person finds a book
face down he should turn it face u p. If he finds it upside down, he should
take it out and put it back right side up.
- If a liquid falls on a garment and on a Torah book at the
same time, the Torah book should be dried off first.
- Torah books that are in a bag should be removed by
lifting them out of the back, not by shaking the bag so that they fall out