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