A. I’m not sure, but since he’s from the art department, it seems that it’s from a story in the Talmud (Avoda Zara 19a). Rabbi Chanina ben Tradyon was so dedicated to teaching Torah publicly that he disregarded the Roman decree against Torah Teaching at great risk to his life. When the Romans caught up with him, they wrapped him in a Torah scroll and set it on fire. His disciples asked their dying Rabbi, “What do you see?” to which he replied, “I see the parchment burning, but the letters are flying upwards”. (one interpretation: you can burn the physical, but you can not destroy ideas). Artists and sculpters love this theme, and have often depicted a burning Torah scroll with fiery heavenly letters soaring above it. I’ve seen it depicted artistically or in sculpture in a few synagogues.
It may also be a reference to the way Moses saw the Heavenly Torah, black letters of fire, on a white fiery background. And in Deuteronomy the Torah is called “a fiery law”.