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I have observed in the Shuls I Daven in that the one who does Gelila often puts the belt (gartel) on the top third of the Sefer Torah. Is there a reason or source for this? Why not in the middle?

  • I imagine the stress between the tops of the poles is more than between the bottoms as the poles try to rotate outwards and downwards. Any engineers out there? – Double AA Jan 22 '12 at 1:17
  • @HodofHod, that's the Lubavitch custom. All other Ashk'nazim I know of tie it about a third of the way down. – msh210 Jan 22 '12 at 2:10
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    @HodofHod: Chabad does it the bottom third, others do it on the top third. It is connected to Moshe receiving the luchot from G-d, where it says that G-d held the top third and Moshe held the bottom third. I don't have any sources right now but the sefer Chikrei Minhagim by R. Gurary from Cholon, Israel discusses it – Menachem Jan 22 '12 at 2:17
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    @msh210 and sefardim? – HodofHod Jan 22 '12 at 2:38
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    @HodofHod Sefardim don't have gartels on their Sifrei Torah – termsofservice Dec 16 '13 at 6:10
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From an engineering perspective, when you are holding the Torah scroll at the bottom, the gartel should be on the upper half because that is where it is needed more. You have the bottom under control but the top can tilt so it can also open or twist. Imagine trying to balance an up-side down broom on your hand, based on leverage, the higher (and further from your hand) you go, the less strength needed to straighten it.

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    B Biron, welcome to Judaism.SE and thank you for bringing your specialty perspective here. Registering your account can gain you the full benefits of the site. I look forward to seeing you around! – Double AA Feb 9 '12 at 19:18
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In the Sefer Darchei Chaim in the note #65 on the bottom it says in the name of either the Divrei Chaim or his son the Shinever that it is done on the top third similar to Mezuza which is placed on the top third of the door.

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Practicality. If left in the middle, when it is being carried and moved about, the gartel slips a little and descends (because of gravity), after which its function of keeping the scrolls together and tightly bound becomes severely diminished because it slips to the bottom. However, when placed in the top third, it does slip, and slips to the middle. In this case then its function is maintained, and the scrolls don't slip.

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  • Surely then the middle should also be sufficient. The OP was asking why not in the middle also? The engineering answer doesn't address why in the middle should also be okay – user18155 Nov 5 '18 at 12:46

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