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My shul building is about 80 years old. The aron is huge and holds 10 Sifrei Torah arranged on 2 rows. The back row is higher than the front one.

I noticed that all the "older" shuls that have a multi-row aron have one row higher than the other. I assume that this is mainly for practicality so that you can easily reach a Torah from the back row if you need it. But, I'm curious if there is any halachic prohibition of storing Sifrei Torah in an Aron one directly behind another one?

As I mentioned, it's not practical. However, I believe that one of the Bobover shuls in Boro park has an "elevator" Aron. I.e. the two rows are connected to a chain so that pulling the chain raises or lowers a row (i.e as one ascends, the other descends.) Technically, it is possible for them to have the two rows placed on the same level.

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    Whats the issue? One can technically put a sefer Torah on another Sefer Torah – sam Apr 18 '18 at 17:09
  • @sam That might be an answer. It's possible that there may be a difference between storing it in an Aron and placing one on top of the other while they are "actively" used. – DanF Apr 18 '18 at 17:11
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    YD 282:19 מֻתָּר לְהַנִּיחַ סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה עַל סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, – sam Apr 18 '18 at 17:18
  • @sam that seems like the answer – aBochur Apr 18 '18 at 17:19
  • @sam I don't know if you were busy for this one. In general, don't be "afraid" to post an answer. – DanF Apr 19 '18 at 14:22
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As sam pointed out in a comment, it says in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 282:19 as follows:

מֻתָּר לְהַנִּיחַ סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה עַל סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, וּמַנִּיחִים חֻמָּשִׁים עַל גַּבֵּי נְבִיאִים וּכְתוּבִים, אֲבָל אֵין מַנִּיחִים נְבִיאִים וּכְתוּבִים עַל גַּבֵּי חֻמָּשִׁים, וְלֹא חֻמָּשִׁים עַל גַּבֵּי סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה.

One is allowed to place a Sefer Torah on top of another Sefer Torah, and a Chumash on top of Nevi'im and Kesuvim, but we don't place Nevi'im or Kesuvim on top of a Chumash, and not a Chumash On top of a Sefer Torah.

So at least according to the Shulchan Aruch, there is no problem to place them on top of each other, how much more so behind each other.

As for why an old shul might have them on different levels, that might be as you said, to make it easy to remove, or it could also be in order that everyone could see the amount of Sifrei Torah that the shul has.


To address your comment that reads as follows:

It's possible that there may be a difference between storing it in an Aron and placing one on top of the other while they are "actively" used.

That's a good point, but the Shulchan Aruch doesn't mention that the Sefer Torah has to be used in order to place it on top of another. From the simple translate it seems like you can leave it on top for as long as you'd like.

  • FWIW a Sofer I was once working with (involving taking lots of Torahs out of an Aron) told me that we should avoid stacking Torahs on top of each other if we could help it because it's not dignified, but rather ideally each Torah should have its own place on a table or such. – Double AA Apr 18 '18 at 22:39
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    @DoubleAA I've seen shuls where they take out all the Sifrei Torah (e.g. on simchas Torah) and stack them on the bimah like a pyramid. – Alex Apr 18 '18 at 22:54
  • O.C. citation is pretty much verbatim from Tal. Bavli Megillah 27a. – DanF Apr 19 '18 at 14:18
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    @DoubleAA Other than dignity, perhaps the sofer was also concerned that prolonged pressure may ruin the strength of the parchment and the ink? Surmising.. – DanF Apr 19 '18 at 14:20

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