When the Torah is removed from the aron hakodesh, it is
customary to move closer to the Torah in order to see it. Even those who
are standing in the courtyard of the synagogue go into the synagogue to see
the Torah as it is removed from the aron because “the multitude
enhances the glory of the King.”
All who are close to the Sefer Torah kiss it with their
mouths or, if they are not close enough, with their hands. If a person is
close enough, he embraces the Sefer Torah with his right arm.
As the Sefer Torah passes before a person, he should
accompany it for a few steps.
Some have questioned the propriety of touching the Sefer Torah with one’s
hand and then kissing the hand. But since its clear that the hand is being
kissed where it touched the Sefer Torah, it is correct to do so, for it appears
as though, when he touched the Sefer Torah, something of the kedushah remained
on his hand and that he is kissing his hand for that reason. Similarly, it is
customary, after touching the tefilin on the head, to kiss the hand. Just as
touching something unclean contaminates the hand, touching something holy
purifies it. Kissing the hand that was purified by contact with something holy
signifies a desire to be close to holiness and purity. It also suggests a love
for the mitzvah. Nevertheless, there are places where only the children kiss the
Sefer Torah. The adults bow in reverence.