Torah scrolls are now rolled all the way to the right, at the beginning of the Torah, with almost the entire weight on the left side. This means that someone who does hagbahah, lifts up the Torah open and then sits down with it so it can be closed, needs to be able to handle the weight on the left side. Yesterday, I saw the gabbai at the minyan I attended be turned down multiple times while trying to assign hagbahah. Therefore, I decided to agree to it when he asked me. I don’t look particularly strong… because I’m not. But I know that hagbahah is all about leverage and not strength, so unless we’re dealing with an unusually heavy Torah scroll I can do it.
When the time came, I made sure the scroll was taut, had my knees bent slightly and tilted the scroll up at a good angle for what seemed like would be the perfect hagbahah. Then the top of the scroll hit a low-hanging chandelier right over the Torah that I had not noticed (who puts a chandelier right there???). Once you lose your balance with a Torah so heavily weight to one side it is hard to regain it but someone standing right next to me straightened me out and I sat right down.
Afterwards, I was talking to someone and pointed out that I had the math all right but I neglected to factor in the chandelier. He said that it sounded to him like the current financial crisis.