The question was raised before Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
whether it was appropriate to kiss the Sefer Torah. According to the Shulchan
Aruch (Yore Deah 116:5) it is forbidden to place coins in the mouth because
everybody touches them. Since everyone touches the cloth that covers the Sefer
Torah, it would seem that it would also be forbidden to kiss it. Harav Auerbach
answered that the custom is not to be concerned about that, because before
davening, everyone washes his hands, so while people touch coins with hands that
may be soiled, they touch the Sefer Torah with clean hands. Also, when a person
does a mitzvah he is guarded from evil.
The person called to lift the Torah from the bimah should
be the most important of the persons who were called up to the Torah. The
person who lifted it should roll and close the Torah together with the person
who covers it. Chazal said that the reward for doing this is as great as the
reward of all the others put together. The custom, now, is that a person who
has not been called to the Torah lifts the Torah, and that this honor is not
limited to people of special stature.
When the Sefer Torah is lifted after being removed from the lectern, it
should be turned so that the entire congregation, i.e., those standing to the
right, to the left, to the front and to the back, can see the written text of
the Torah scroll, and, with a gesture of bowing, say, “This is the Torah which
Moshe placed before the Children of Israel, etc.” This should only be said upon
seeing the written text of the Torah, though the recitation can be continued
after the text is no longer in view.