Hillel said in Pirkei Avot 4:5:

Anyone who derives worldly benefit from the words of the Torah removes his life from the world.

The Rambam in his commentary thereon explores the idea of financially benefiting from Torah and strongly rejected the notion that Jews must financially help other Jews study Torah:

When we look into the words of the rabbis... we do not find among them that they were requesting money from people and they did not collect money for the honored and precious academies... Rather, we find, in each and every generation, [that poor scholars lived from] the work in which they engaged.

He considered that depending on the charity of others to study Torah is a form of benefitting from Torah and therefore forbidden.

Is it true that nothing in the Torah or words of the Sages says to support Torah scholars to free them from worldly concerns?

  • 1
    The Ramba'm thinks so. Others disagree. There's no definite proof either way, both sides dispute the other's evidence.
    – Lo ani
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 21:18
  • 1
    – Shababnik
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 21:22
  • Yes, it says they did engage in private partnerships. But does it say people should push for more of them, campaign for them, and solicit money for them? That's the Rambam's objection. Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 21:57
  • Comment on Avot. Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 22:17
  • 1
    The Rambam's views on this issue are nuanced and require careful attention. The Rambam holds that it is a problem to impose upon the public to support able-bodied Torah scholars, even if members of the public would respond favorably to the request. The Rambam is not as opposed (depending on the antecedent of "ולא יתירו לעצמם זה") to an arrangement where donors take the initiative to support the studies of a Torah scholar. Even so, the Rambam cites the examples of Rabbi Tarfon and R' Yonasan ben Amram to point out that it is proper for a scholar not to accept benefit for his studies.
    – Fred
    Commented Dec 26, 2023 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


תרגום ירושלמי (יונתן) בראשית מ"ט:ט"ו וחמא נייחא דעלמא דאתי ארום טב וחולקא דארעא דישראל ארום בסימא הוא בגין כן ארכין כתפי למלעי באורייתא והו(י){ו} ליה אחוי מסקי דורונין. And he saw the rest of the world to come that it is good, and the portion of the land of Israel that it is pleasant; therefore bowed he his shoulders to labour in the law, and unto him shall come his brethren bearing presents.

  • How does this answer the question?
    – Lo ani
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 21:36
  • How does it not? It's an ancient source that supports supporting (pun intended) Torah scholars financially
    – Nahum
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 21:38
  • 1
    Are you sure it's referring to supporting Torah scholars, and not to rewarding them?
    – Lo ani
    Commented Dec 25, 2023 at 21:45
  • Have you seen the Netziv's reading of that verse?
    – Shalom
    Commented Dec 26, 2023 at 2:16
  • Lo ani, I'm not entirely sure what your question is but from the verse's וַיְהִ֖י לְמַס⁠־עֹבֵֽד that the targum is interpreting it seems that it was consistent support. Shalom, I did not. Would you like to fill me in?
    – Nahum
    Commented Dec 26, 2023 at 2:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .