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A kollel or colel ( he, כולל, , , a "gathering" or "collection" f scholars is an institute for full-time, advanced
study Study or studies may refer to: General * Education **Higher education * Clinical trial * Experiment * Observational study * Research * Study skills, abilities and approaches applied to learning Other * Study (art), a drawing or series of drawing ...
of the
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

Talmud
and
rabbinic literature Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, is the entire spectrum of rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi, following a course of study of Jewish texts ...
. Like a
yeshiva A yeshiva (; he, ישיבה, , sitting; pl. , or ) is a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards de ...
, a kollel features
shiurim File:הרב חיים שלום דייטש מוסר שיעור בישיבת תורת אמת.jpg, ''Gemara Shiur'', Tomchei Temimim , Toras Emes Yeshiva Shiur (, he, שיעור , pl. shiurim, lit. "Lesson") is a lesson on any Torah study, Tora ...
(lectures) and learning ''sedarim'' (sessions); unlike a yeshiva, the student body of a kollel consists mostly of married men. A kollel generally pays a regular monthly
stipend A stipend is a regular fixed sum of money paid for services or to defray expenses, such as for scholarship, internship, or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from an income or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work pe ...
to its members.


History


Original sense

Originally, the word was used in the sense of "community". Each group of European Jews settling in Israel established their own community with their own support system. Each community was referred to as the "kollel of " to identify the specific community of the
Old Yishuv The Old Yishuv ( he, היישוב הישן, ''haYishuv haYashan'') were the Jewish communities of the southern Ottoman Syria, Syrian provinces in the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman period, up to the onset of Aliyah, Zionist aliyah and the consolidation ...
. The overwhelming majority of these Jews were scholars who left their homelands to devote themselves to study
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
and serve God for the rest of their lives. The kollel was the umbrella organization for all their needs. The first examples were
Kolel Perushim The ''perushim'' ( he, פרושים) were disciples of the Vilna Gaon, Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, who left Lithuania at the beginning of the 19th century to settle in the Land of Israel, which was then part of Ottoman Syria under Ottoman Empire, ...
(students of the
Vilna Gaon Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, ( he , ר' אליהו בן שלמה זלמן ''Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman'') known as the Vilna Gaon (Hebrew), Gaon ( yi, דער װילנער גאון, pl, Gaon z Wilna, lt, Vilniaus Gaonas) or Elijah of Vilna, or ...
who established the first
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
Jewish settlement in Jerusalem) and
Colel Chabad Colel Chabad ( he, כולל חב"ד) was founded in 1788 and is the oldest continuously operating Charitable organization, charity in Israel. The institution runs a network of soup kitchens and food banks, dental and medical clinics, daycare cent ...
for the
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
Hasidim Hasid ( he, חסיד, "pious"; plural {{Script/Hebrew, חסידים "Hasidim") is a Jewish honorific, frequently used as a term of exceptional respect in the Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of ...
. The
Polish Jews The history of the Jews in Poland dates back at least 1,000 years. For centuries, Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrat ...
were divided into many kollelim
Kolel Polen
(Poland), headed by Rabbi
Chaim Elozor WaxChaim Elozor WaxAlso spelled Waks or Wachs. In Avotaynu ''Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy'' is a magazine that focuses on Jewish genealogy and family history published by Avotaynu Inc. (New Haven, Connecticut). It was establish ...
;
Kolel Vilna Zamość A kollel or colel ( he, כולל, , , a "gathering" or "collection" f scholars is an institute for full-time, advanced Torah study, study of the Talmud and rabbinic literature. Like a yeshiva, a kollel features Shiur (Torah), shiurim (lecture ...
was under different leadership; and the
Galicians Galicians ( gl, galegos, es, gallegos) are a Romance peoples, Romance ethnic group, closely related to the Portuguese people, and whose historic homeland is Galicia (Spain), Galicia, in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. Two Romance lang ...
were incorporated under
Kolel Chibas Yerushalayim Kolel A kollel or colel ( he, כולל, , , a "gathering" or "collection" f scholars is an institute for full-time, advanced study of the Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism a ...
. The last initially included the entire
Austro-Hungarian Kingdom
Austro-Hungarian Kingdom
, but as each subparty looking for more courteous distribution, the Hungarians separated into
Kolel Shomrei HaChomos Kollel Shomrei haChomos ( he, כולל שומרי החומות) is a financial charity institute or ''kollel'' set up to support the community of Hungarian-Jews who emigrated to the Holy Land, hence it is called by many the ''Hungarian Kollel''. Th ...
.


Modern sense

The first kollel – in the modern sense of the term – in the
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a High German languages, High German–derived language historically spoken by As ...
was the
Kovno Kollel Kovno Kollel also known as Kollel Perushim of Kovno or Kollel Knesses Beis Yitzchok, was a ''kollel A kollel or colel ( he, כולל, , , a "gathering" or "collection" f scholars is an institute for full-time, advanced study Study or studies m ...
("Kolel Perushim") founded in
Kovno Kaunas (; ; also see other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon novel), a 1971 horror novel ...
(Kaunas, Lithuania) in 1877. It was founded by Rabbi
Yisrael Salanter Yisrael ben Ze'ev Wolf Lipkin, also known as "Israel Salanter" or "Yisroel Salanter" (November 3, 1809, Zhagory – February 2, 1883, Königsberg), was the father of the Musar movement in Orthodox Judaism and a famed Rosh yeshiva and Talmudist. The ...
and directed by
Rabbi Isaac Blaser
Rabbi Isaac Blaser
. The ten students enrolled were required to separate from their families, except for the
Sabbath In Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of -originated s that claim descent from the of the ancient and the worship of the . The Abrahamic ...
, and devote themselves to studying for the Rabbinate. There was a four-year limit on one's membership in the kollel. Two people can be considered to have spearheaded the kollel philosophy and outgrowth in today's world: Rabbi
Aharon Kotler Rabbi Aharon Kotler (1891–1962) was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi, following a course of study of Jewish texts such as the Talmu ...
(founder of
Beth Medrash Govoha Beth Medrash Govoha ( he, בית מדרש גבוה, Sephardi pronunciationSephardi Hebrew (or Sepharadi Hebrew) is the pronunciation system for Biblical Hebrew language, Biblical Hebrew favored for liturgical use by Sephardi Jewish practice. Its ...
,
Lakewood, New Jersey Lakewood Township is the most populous Township (New Jersey), township in Ocean County, New Jersey, Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. A rapidly growing bedroom community of New York City, as of the 2020 United States Census, the townshi ...
, the largest yeshiva in the US) and Rabbi
Elazar Shach Elazar Menachem Man Shach ( he, אלעזר מנחם מן שך, Elazar Shach; January 1, 1899 O.S. – November 2, 2001) was a leading Lithuanian-Jewish Haredi rabbi in Bnei Brak, Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِس ...
, one of the most prominent leaders of the Jewish community in Israel until his death in 2001. The community kollel movement was also fostered by Torah Umesorah, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools. Currently, the term is applied in America to any stipend given for yeshiva study and is now a general term for the yeshivah approach to life.


Philosophy

The philosophy of the kollel, in which members are subsisting entirely on support from others, is part of an overall philosophy of some Orthodox Jews, that God desires that the children of Israel primarily occupy themselves in this world with the study of the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
, and gave certain Jews more of a propensity to work with the intention that they should support the 'learners'. In
Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, ...
this has become known as the ' Yissachar-
Zebulun Zebulun (; also ''Zebulon'', ''Zabulon'', or ''Zaboules'') was, according to the Books of Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain ...
' partnership, after the
Midrash ''Midrash'' (;"midrash"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
he, מִדְרָשׁ; ...

Midrash
ic legend that the tribe of Zevulun financially supported the tribe of Issachar so that they could occupy themselves with Torah study. The reward of the supporter in the World-to-Come is seen to be equal to that of the scholar's reward.


Structure


Leadership

Most kollels have a scholar serving as a '' rosh kollel'', or head of the kollel. He decides on the subject matter studied by the kollel. In many cases he also has to spend considerable time fund-raising to support the kollel. Many kollels employ former students – (), () – as fundraisers, often giving them euphemistic titles such as Executive Director or Director of Community Programming. Fundraising projects may include sponsorships of specific events or "day(s) of learning." Many kollels are savvy users of social media for fundraising purposes.


Student body

Many Orthodox Jewish yeshiva students study in kollel for a year or two after they get married, whether or not they will pursue a rabbinic career. Modest stipends, or the salaries of their working wives, and the increased wealth of many families have made kollel study commonplace for yeshiva graduates. The largest United States kollel is at
Beth Medrash Govoha Beth Medrash Govoha ( he, בית מדרש גבוה, Sephardi pronunciationSephardi Hebrew (or Sepharadi Hebrew) is the pronunciation system for Biblical Hebrew language, Biblical Hebrew favored for liturgical use by Sephardi Jewish practice. Its ...
in
Lakewood, New Jersey Lakewood Township is the most populous Township (New Jersey), township in Ocean County, New Jersey, Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. A rapidly growing bedroom community of New York City, as of the 2020 United States Census, the townshi ...
. More than 4,500 kollel scholars are attached to the yeshiva, which has 6500 students in total. Large kollels also exist in
Ner Israel Rabbinical College Ner Israel Rabbinical College (ישיבת נר ישראל), also known as NIRC and Ner Yisroel, is a Haredi yeshiva (Jewish educational institution) in Pikesville, Maryland, Pikesville (Baltimore County, Maryland, Baltimore County), Maryland. It ...
, numbering 180 scholars, and in
Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin A yeshiva (; he, ישיבה, , sitting; pl. , or ) is a Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are members of an ethnoreligious group and a nation originating from the Israelite ...
, with more than 100 scholars. In the
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
i community, thousands of men study full-time for many years in hundreds of kollelim. Kollel has been known at times to cause a great deal of friction with the secular
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
i public at large. It has been criticized by the
Modern Orthodox Modern may refer to: History * Modern history ** Early Modern period ** Late Modern period *** 18th century The 18th century lasted from January 1, 1701 ( MDCCI) to December 31, 1800 ( MDCCC). The term is often used to refer to the 1700s, ...
, non-Orthodox, and secular Jewish communities. The Haredi community defends the practice of kollel on the grounds that Judaism must cultivate Torah scholarship in the same way that the secular academic world conducts research into subject areas. While costs may be high in the short run, in the long run the Jewish people will benefit from having numerous learned laymen, scholars, and rabbis. (See also:
Religious relations in Israel Religious relations in Israel are relations between Haredi Judaism, Haredim, non-Haredi Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox, Karaite Judaism, Karaite, Beta Israel, Ethiopian, Reform, Conservative, and secular Jews, as well as relations between different rel ...
) Yeshiva students who
learn Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical thing, such as a person, situation, or message whereby one is able to use concepts to model that thing. Under ...
in kollel often continue their studies and become
rabbi A rabbi () is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civili ...

rabbi
s,
poskim ''Posek'' ( he, פוסק , pl. ''poskim'', ) is the term in Jewish law ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping let ...
("deciders" of
Jewish law ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ), also Romanization of Hebrew, transliterated as ''halacha'', ''halakhah'', and ''halacho'' ( ), is the collective body of Judaism, Jewish religious laws which is derived from the Torah, written and Oral Tora ...
), or teachers of Talmud and Judaism. Others enter the world of business. If successful, they may financially support the study of others while making time to continue their own learning.


Community kollelim

In the late 20th century, community kollelim were introduced. They are an Orthodox outreach tool, aimed to decrease assimilation and propagate Orthodox Judaism among the wider Jewish population. In the early 1990s community kollelim (or kollels) in North America were functioning in Los Angeles, Toronto, and Detroit; a kollel was also established in Montreal. Other locations with community kollelim include Miami Beach, Florida, Miami Beach; Dallas; St. Louis, Missouri; Minneapolis; Atlanta; Seattle; Pittsburgh; Las Vegas; Philadelphia; and Phoenix, Arizona. In the past years about 30 Haredi Judaism, Haredi community kollelim in North America have been opened by yeshiva-trained scholars to serve, in addition to the full-time study by the members of the kollel, as centers for adult education and outreach to the Jewish communities in which they located themselves. Topics include everything from basic Hebrew language, Hebrew to advanced Talmud. In addition to imparting Torah knowledge, such kollels function to impart technical skills required for self-study. Many Modern Orthodox communities host a :he:תורה מציון (ארגון) , ''Torah MiTzion'' kollel, where ''Hesder'' graduates learn and teach, generally for one year.


Criticism

Maimonides in his code of Jewish law, is very critical of those that study Torah without having a source of income and rely on charity, to the extent that he calls it a disgrace to God and to the Torah. However, the kollel system is both a popular and accepted one in many Orthodox Jewish circles, yet some maintain that a distinction must be made between a situation of mutual desire for such by both the learner and the supporter and, on the other hand, communities that put pressure on the learner to join and remain in a kollel while simultaneously putting pressure on the community to support such an individual. Some other criticisms of the modern kollel system include: *The difficult financial burden placed on individuals who are less than willing to support institutions for kollel studies. *The complex halachah, halachic permissibility of receiving financial support for Torah study, while avoiding preparation for a future occupation. *The community-wide poverty that often accompanies the system along with its effect on the larger economy. *The convention of isolation from daily life, social interactions and a career resulting in studies being divorced from actual day-to-day practice. *The lack of standardized testing and regular supervision which allows for misuse of time intended for study. *The focus on thorough examination of a relatively few number of pages of
Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha'') and Jewish theology. Until the advent of modernity, in nearly all Jewish communities, the ...

Talmud
, as opposed to completion of the entire Talmud with a focus on practical halachah and other areas of Jewish literature.


References


Sources

*''The World of the Yeshiva: An Intimate Portrait of Orthodox Jewry'' William B. Helmreich, KTAV Publishing House; ; Augmented edition (February 2000) *''The way we were before our destruction: Lives of Jewish students from Vilna who perished during the Holocaust'' Yulian I. Rafes, VIA Press ; YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; ; (July 1, 1998) {{Jewish education Jewish educational institutions Kollelim, Orthodox yeshivas Hebrew words and phrases