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Here's the Rambam, waxing poetic at the end of Laws of Shmita and Yovel (and his entire volume of Zeraim):

ולא שבט לוי בלבד, אלא כל איש ואיש מכל באי העולם אשר נדבה רוחו אותו והבינו מדעו להיבדל לעמוד לפני ה' לשרתו ולעובדו לדעה את ה', והלך ישר כמו שעשהו האלוהים, ופרק מעל צווארו עול החשבונות הרבים אשר ביקשו בני האדם--הרי זה נתקדש קודש קודשים, ויהיה ה' חלקו ונחלתו לעולם ולעולמי עולמים; ויזכה לו בעולם הזה דבר המספיק לו, כמו שזיכה לכוהנים וללויים. הרי דויד אומר "ה', מנת חלקי וכוסי--אתה, תומיך גורלי"

Not only the Tribe of Levi, but each and every man from all those who traverse the earth, should their spirit move them and their intellect guide them to stand apart, to stand before G-d, to serve Him and know Him, and act appropriately as G-d intended, and he removes from his neck the yoke of all the troubles the masses seek -- such a person is sanctified holy of holies, and G-d shall be his portion and inheritance forever and ever; and he shall merit in this world enough to sustain himself, just as was provided for the Priests and Levites. As David said, 'G-d, You are my portion of inheritance and my goblet, my supporter and my lot.' "

Today you'll often hear this quoted in support of large-scale kollel funding, though others question if that's what Rambam meant.

Does anyone know who first cited this Rambam in support of kollel?

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It would be cool to see examples of both sides of the contemporary argument. –  Isaac Moses Nov 4 '10 at 15:44
Isaac - see links. I don't want this question to become a flamewar about who's right, just when this was first cited. –  Shalom Nov 4 '10 at 16:45
Shalom, Thanks for the links. I understand and agree with your aim for this question. I'm sure the answer would prove useful to people interested in the philosophy and sociology of the kollel movement. I just feel that if you're going to refer to people saying stuff to support the relevance of your question and provide context for it, you accomplish those aims more effectively if you cite examples of such sayings. –  Isaac Moses Nov 4 '10 at 16:57
Makes sense. That's why I'm including the links, but not their arguments (other than perhaps any bias implied by my translation). –  Shalom Nov 4 '10 at 17:05
related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/693/759 –  Double AA Jan 30 '12 at 0:52

1 Answer 1

Biur Halacha (156:1) connects it to Torah study in particular, although not for large-scale kollel.

Chazon Ish (Kovetz Igros Chazon Ish vol. 1, letter 86) also clearly connects the Rambam to Torah study and even larger scale kollelim.

see here at length.

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