Sometimes in the middle of learning we walk out for a minute, and we all know you shouldn’t leave a sefer open. What is the issue and what is the proper thing to do?
It is considered a bizayon to the sefer to leave it open. It is said that one who leaves his sefer open and walks out, forgets his learning, and even if your chavrusah is staying near the sefer, it is still an issue .
Some poskim hold that this is only an issue when someone leaves his sefer open in the bais medrash when going out to do one’s errands. If he’s simply going from one room to another, or if someone needs to go to the bathroom, or even to the street for a few minutes, there is no issue and you do not need to close the sefer, especially if one has several seforim open, and it would be bitul Torah to have to find the place in all them again. Nevertheless, if one closes it, it is definitely more kavodik .
Though according to others, there is no difference between a long period of time, or if someone intends to return immediately, a sefer should never be left lying open .
Is covering the open sefer or turning to a different page enough?
One should not cover the sefer with another sefer, rather put a paper over it or fold the tablecloth onto the sefer . It is still preferable to close the sefer.
Turning from the page you are learning to a different page in the sefer is not enough .
1. See Shulchan Aruch Y”D 277:1 and Shach 1, there is a malach which protects the pages of seforim, and will make people forget their learning.
2. See Salmas Chaim, volume 2:100
3. See Aruch HaShulchan, 277:2, based on the Yados Nadorim.
4. See Kaf HaChaim, 20:11, and Shu”t Yaskil Avdei Y”D, volume 5:56. Especially, since what the Shach writes the malach will find even a small opportunity if one leaves a sefer open.
5. See Yeshuas Chochma 27:48. See Salmas Chaim volume 2:101 that perhaps those that cover it with something else, for a short period of time, and it’s obvious that he’s trying to cover the sefer, it’s not a bizayon for the sefer. Though one should still close it.
6. See Bais Baruch 1:36, it does not help since it’s still a bizayon.