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Handles on the Torah Scroll (Atzei Chaim)

Question
Must a sefer Torah have an etz chayim?
Answer
No, the sefardic sifrei Torah don't have handles, and even moreso, from the times of the Tannaim, about 1800 years ago, the Dura Europos synagogue pictures depict reading from relatively small Torah scrolls held by hand.
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