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I have observed a custom in which some people do not turn there back to the Aron kodesh when walking away from it, such as when they are done closing it after returning the sefer torah. I am looking for reasons and sources of this custom.

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The reason is respect for the Torah Scroll. The sanctity of the Torah Scroll does not allow us to turn our backs on it, we are obliged to honor and respect the sacred texts, be it the Torah or other books of the Tanakh. In normal times, we follow this custom less often. Although there are also great righteous people who acted differently, thereby showing respect and reverence for the Torah throughout time. As for the time of prayer, it is also a time of special favor from Heaven. Especially if prayer takes place in a synagogue, especially in a minyan. Showing such respect and reverence for the Torah during prayer that we do not turn our backs on Aron HaKodesh, it is as if we are in front of Kadosh, Boruch Hu. How ancient is this custom? — I don't know... But I have heard that Cohen Gadol also did this in relation to Kodesh Hakodashim.

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  • Your answer is a bit unclear and lacks sources, seems more of an opinion. Also, the kohen going out back wards is a gemara in Yoma, but I didn't find anyone connecting this to the minhag in question
    – Yoreinu
    Commented Jul 4 at 10:37
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Rabbeinu Chananel, on Shemot 32:15

ויפן וירד משה מן ההר. We learn from this word ויפן, he turned around, that Moses descended while facing the cloud just as he had done when ascending the mountain. In other words, just as he had ascended facing the cloud, he now descended keeping his face toward the cloud, walking backwards. The High Priest, on the Day of Atonement, emulated this when withdrawing from the Holy of Holies by walking backwards after having offered the incense before the lid of the Holy Ark, the kapporet, as well as some of the blood of the two offerings on behalf of the people as well as sprinkling some on the dividing curtain. We have a similar verse in Chronicles II 1,13 describing Solomon’s approach to the altar that was standing in Givon at that time. Even though one could say that the words ויבא שלמה לבמה אשר בגבעון ירושליםmean: “Solomon returned from the altar in Givon to Jerusalem,” [seeing Givon at that time was certainly not part of Jerusalem Ed.] the correct interpretation is that he withdrew in the same way as he had approached. The point of all this was to conform to the principle of שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד, “I am keeping Hashem in front of Me at all times.” (Psalms 16,8) One does not turn one’s back on G’d. The Mishnah, Yuma 52 states: “in the manner he had entered he also exited.” This is also the way Leviticus 16,24 describes this, writing: “he exited and completed the ritual of his own burnt offering as well as that of the people.” These words have been interpreted by our sages to mean that the word לבמה “to the altar,” must also be read as מבמה.”from the altar,” when he was headed back to Jerusalem (Yuma 53). There is a precedent for this in Numbers 31,21, where the words הבאים למלחמה, must also mean הבאים מן המלחמה, “the ones who were returning from the war.” How do we know that indeed the Shechinah was on the mountain at the time Moses descended? In Deuteronomy 9,15 where Moses refers to his descent from the mountain, he adds the words: “and the mountain was burning in fire while the two tablets of the covenant were on my hands.” We learn from all of this that the student, when taking leave of his teacher, walks backwards until the face of his teacher is no longer directly visible to him. (Yuma 53) This is also the reason why, at the end of the principal prayer the amidah, we step three steps backwards, as if to take leave of the G’d Whom we had faced and addressed before. (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim section 123).

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    Thank you for bringing sources that show that when it comes to to the kodesh hakodashim, mizbeiach and a teacher one should walk backwards. But this source does not talk about the Aron Haoodesh when done closing.
    – Yoreinu
    Commented Jul 4 at 10:40

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