Turning one’s Head
One should turn his head away from the sefer while making the beracha.(43) Some say the custom is to turn his head towards the left side.(44) However, since today, the custom is that the one who receives an aliyah stands on the right side and the ba’al koreh on the left, one should turn his head to the right side.(45) Nonetheless, whichever way one turns his head is acceptable.
Kissing the Sefer Torah before the Beracha
Before reciting the beracha on an aliyah some have the custom to kiss the sefer Torah by taking a tallis(46) or the gartel of the sefer Torah and passing it on the klaf of the Torah.(47) Others are concerned that doing so may cause one to erase some of the letters of the Torah.(48) The custom of others is to touch the klaf near the letters, and not to actually touch any letters of the sefer Torah.(49) Many have the custom to kiss the sefer Torah at the end of an aliyah.(50) However, there is no need to kiss the place which was just read.(51)
(43) Rama 139:4. Levush 5. Some do not turn their head at all (Chai Adom 31:12, Mishnah Berurah 19). (44) Magen Avraham 8, Machtzis Ha’shekel, Levush ibid, Aruch Ha’shulchan 13. (45) Sharei Halacha U’minhag O.C. 85:page 184, Ve’alu Lo Ubol 1:page 99:133, Halichos Shlomo Tefilla 12:footnote 68, Piskei Teshuvos 139:footnote 62. (46) Aruch Ha’shulchan 139:15. (47) Sharei Ephraim 4:3, Halichos Shlomo Tefilla 12:footnote 68, Sharei Halacha U’minhag O.C. 85, Orchos Rabbeinu 1:page 71:27, see Ketzos Ha’shulchan 25:badi 24. (48) Shulchan Hatohar 139:8, Sharei Rachamim 4:4, Nemukei Orach Chaim 139:1, see Kaf Ha’chaim 27. (49) Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita. (50) Magen Avraham 139:14, Yad Ephraim 12, Elya Rabbah 14, Sharei Ephraim 4:21, Mishnah Berurah 35, Aruch Ha’shulchan 15, Piskei Teshuvos page 161, Sharei Halacha U’minhag O.C. 85. (51) Siach Tefilla page 258.
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