Leaving a Sefer open upon leaving a room

Leaving a Sefer open:[1]

One is not to have a Torah book [i.e. Sefer] remain open if he leaves the room, unless the Sefer is covered by a cloth and the like.[2] According to Kaballah, one who leaves a Sefer open and exits the room causes a certain angel by the name of “ש”ד”, which stands for “Shomer Dapin/guards pages”, to make one forget his learning.[3]



Is one to personally close his own Sefer?[4]

One is to be particular to personally close the Sefer that he opened, rather than have another person close it for him. 


What items may be placed on top of the open Sefer?

One may cover the Sefer with any item, so long as the item does not belittle the Sefer.[5] Some[6] record that the Sefer is to be covered with a nice cloth cover.


May one place another Sefer on top of the open Sefer in order to cover it?

Some[7] write it is permitted to cover an open Sefer with another Sefer.[8] This may be done even if the lower Sefer is a Chumash and the upper Sefer which is being placed on it is of Torah Shebal Peh.[9] However, other Poskim[10] are stringent to prohibit covering an open Sefer with another Sefer, and the only option available is to use a cloth or close it. Practically, the custom is like the former approach.


How much of the Sefer must be covered?[11]

The custom is to cover some part of the Sefer, and not require the entire Sefer to be covered.


May one leave the Sefer open and leave the room if someone is guarding the Sefer?[12]



Must the Sefer be covered if one will be returning shortly?

Some Poskim[13] rule that if one will only be leaving the room for a short amount of time, such as to go to the bathroom and the like, there is no need to close or cover the Sefer. Other Poskim[14] however rule one must cover the Sefer even in such a case.


Must the Sefer be covered if one will be in the room next door?

Some Poskim[15] rule that one is only required to close or cover the Sefer if he will be leaving the house, however if he will be going to a room next door then there is no need to do so.


May one leave a Sefer open for the sake of the Sefer, such as for it to dry if water spilled on it?[16]




The angel called Shomer Dapim:[17]

The angel called Shomer Dapim stands by the Sefarim and supervises that they are treated respectfully. There was once an individual who ended his daily writing in a Sefer with a verse that has a negative connotation. The next day when he entered his study, he saw a frightening looking individual sitting on his chair and reading his Sefer. He told the individual that he is the angel called Shomer Dapin and he supervises the pages of Sefarim, and when one concludes with an evil verse, he can cause the writer potential harm. That individual happened to be a Tzaddik and he made a deal with the angel not to hurt him, in exchange for that he will not continue writing in that Sefer until Shavuos, and so it was.


[1] Michaber Y.D. 277:1 regarding Sefer Torah; Bach Y.D. 277:1 based on Yerushalmi, brought in Shach 277:1 that the same applies for all Sefarim; Taz 277:1 in name of Bach ibid; Shach ibid based on Eiruvin 98a; Shiyurei Kneses Hagedola 282; Mishnas Chachamim Reish; Reishis Chochma Shaar Hayirah 15; Birkeiy Yosef 277:2; Kitzur SHU”A 27:4; Yeshuos Chochma 27:49-50; Yados Nedarim 277; Aruch Hashulchan 277:2; See Mikdash Me’at 277; Avnei Yashpa 1:22; Ginzei Hakodesh 2:27

[2] The reason: This is due to Bizayon, belittlement, of the Sefer. [Aruch Hashulchan ibid]

[3] Shach ibid; Kitzur SHU”A 27:4; Yeshuos Chochma 27:49-50; Aruch Hashulchan ibid

[4] Toras Menachem 39:192 that so directed and explained the Rebbe Rayatz, even though this does not have an explicit source [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:134]

[5] Shiyurei Kneses Hagedola 282 in name of Sefer Chassidim

[6] Mishnas Chachaimim Os Reish that the Kneses Hagedola would cover it using a silk garment; Reishis Chochma ibid “Cover it with an important garment”

[7] Ginzei Hakodesh ibid, based on Sefer Chassidim 909 who writes one may place a Sefer of Torah Shebaal Peh on top of a Chumash to protect it from getting dusty.

[8] The reason: This is not similar to the disputed law regarding if one may move a Sefer for the sake of

[9] See Sefer Chassidim ibid

[10] Yeshuos Chochma 27:49-50 based on Pischeiy Teshuvah 282 in name of Chamudei Daniel that one may not use a Sefer as a bookmark for another Sefer; See Aruch Hashulchan ibid who does not give the option of covering it with a Sefer

[11] See Salmas Chaim 377

[12] Salmas Chaim 376

[13] Aruch Hashulchan ibid; Yados Nedarim 277 that so was his custom to leave the Sefer open; Avnei Yashpe 1:202

[14] Kaf Hachaim [Falagi] 20:11; Yaskil Avdi Y.D. 5:56

[15] Aruch Hashulchan ibid

[16] Pischeiy Teshuvah 277 in name of Chamudei Daniel; Aruch Hashulchan 277:3

[17] Brought in Siddur Arizal of Maharik; Chosen Yeshuos 27:3 [on Yeshuos Chochma 27]

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