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Do to its weight, lifting a sefer torah can be challenging without proper technique. Practicing on an actual sefer torah isn't an option for most people due to lack of access. (Most synagogues would be understandably reluctant to allow someone to practice on their seforim.)

Many people never do hagba because they don't want to have do it for the first time in front of an audience at shul.

With that in mind, are there any methods of practicing hagba at home? Are there any common household items that perhaps can be used to approximate the weight and balance of a sefer torah?

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Ashkenazi - It's more about technique then strength. Lifting it right up is hard even for a strong person, but sliding it down and then picking it up is easy. The difficult part is to do the spin, step back to the bench and sit while keeping the scroll stretched, and that's more about control and dexterity then strength.

So you need to get fairly heavy and long objects, tie them up in a string, put them on a table, slide the down and lift them up, spin and sit on a chair behind you, while the string is stretched.

Sefaradi - More strength because it weights more, less control because it's one piece, it's already it vertical position and you don't get to sit with it. The main challenge is to keep the ark straight.

Any lifting a heavy object vertically by holding it near bottom would do the trick.

BTW. One may not take a Sefer out just for practice.

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  • How about to teach others how hagbah should be done? – sam Aug 13 at 3:20
  • @sam, AFAIK, it's still not allowed. – Alaychem goes to Codidact Aug 13 at 13:52
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The average Ashkenazi Torah scroll weighs around 30 pounds, so I would take two 15 pound weights and raise them. If it is a Sephardi scroll forget about it, my father and a few other men are the only ones I know that have the strength to raise it. Hope this helped, just an idea.

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  • I'm not a particularly strong guy, to put it mildly, and had no trouble raising a Sephardic Torah scroll. – msh210 Aug 11 at 5:33
  • The Sephardi case (pun intended) is more about the right technique, that is grabbing it at the right place. It can be scary at first, but don't be shy to ask for help. – Kazi bácsi Aug 11 at 6:44
  • @Kazibácsi When a Sephardi guy gets to do hagba at our Ashkenazi shul the first time, I always get closer and get ready to assist. These guys are used to the one piece case, and many times lose control on the Ashkenazi sefer. – Alaychem goes to Codidact Aug 13 at 13:56
  • @AlaychemgoestoCodidact Being ready to assist is a great idea. But I don't get your point. They also open the case, so a good sense of balance is essential there, especially since you don't have a handle. Personally, I was much scared to raise a tik, but my nice friends insisted. I could do it, but I was quite anxious. – Kazi bácsi Aug 13 at 14:02
  • @Kazibácsi My point is, that a Ashkenazi sefer demends more control then the Sephardi . I happen to be half Ashkenazi half Sephardi, and the doing Ashkenazi hagba right is more changeling, – Alaychem goes to Codidact Aug 16 at 11:16

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