Simchat Torah – Facts About the Scroll
Simchat Torah is the festival that celebrates, our two-spindled scroll that offers the world a plan for living an ethical life.
In fact that’s why we have two spindles to secure the Torah. The spindles remind us that there are two ways to read the Torah. The first way is to approach Torah like a history book – a text that chronicles the story of Jewish people and how we lived in ancient times.
The second spindle exists to remind us that there is a another way to read the Torah – for the spiritual lessons we find inside.
Torah scrolls come in all shapes and sizes. The Ashkenazi Torah scrolls are covered with a mantle and they are read by placing them flat on a reading table. Sephardi scrolls are stored in an upright container, called a “tik.” The Torah is read by opening the “tik” and reading the Torah in an upright position.
Torah scrolls generally have 80 parchment skins, hand sewn together to form 248 columns of Hebrew writing with THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND Hebrew letters. When the scrolls are unrolled most measure about 150 feet.
In the Mediterranean countries of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey and Greece a beautiful Sephardic tradition continues to this day. In these Sephardic communities the Simchat Torah celebration includes wedding blessings under the chuppah to symbolize the marriage of the congregation to the Torah for another year!