Dear Rabbi, In my shul I have noticed that when we take out two Sifrei Torah the Shabbos Torah is given to the shaliach tzibbur (chazzan) and the maftir Torah is given to a second person. However when returning to the Aron,the order is reversed as the shaliach tzibbur will take the maftir Torah and the second person will take the Shabbos Torah. What is the reason for this practice?
The Shabbat Torah is taken and read first before the special reading, because of the rule: “whatever is more common, comes first”, and Shabbat comes every single week. The lesson here is not to take the common for granted, but to make a conscious effort to value and appreciate it, no less than the special and exceptional. Chovot HaL’vavot explains that air is cheaper than water, and water cheaper than food, but don’t take the more common one for granted, for God, in His kindness and genius, purposely created the most necessary in the most abundance and inevitably is the most accessible (cheap), as well. The reason we switch the order on the way back to the Aron Kodesh, is to demonstrate that we are supposed to be so concerned not to offend anyone, and are so concerned to show respect to every Sefer Torah, that we want to show fairness and equality even towards each respective Torah, so that it’s not seen as “secondary”. How much more so, we should be careful not to offend people, created in the “image of God”, to make each one feel “primary”, and not secondary.