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?

  • It would be cool to see examples of both sides of the contemporary argument.
    – Isaac Moses
    Nov 4, 2010 at 15:44
  • 1
    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, 2010 at 16:45
  • 2
    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, 2010 at 16:57
  • 1
    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, 2010 at 17:05
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/693/759
    – Double AA
    Jan 30, 2012 at 0:52

2 Answers 2


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.


Rav Yosef Yozel Horwitz the Alter of Novahrdok (1847–1919) already cites it in his talks compiled in the Sefer Madreigas Ha'adam in Darkei Habitachon (chapter 13 s.v Vezeh Lashon Harambam)

  • where in the sefer?
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 12, 2015 at 19:25
  • See edit above with added source Apr 14, 2015 at 16:48
  • excellent! I dont know what the traditional Mi Yodeya norms state about incorporating your answer into mine. Would that be appropriate?
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 14, 2015 at 20:10
  • I would rather it remain mine..if I understand you correctly. But with attribution I think it would be OK Apr 21, 2015 at 18:25
  • What I wanted to discuss was whether or not he thought that it referred specifically to Torah study or to spiritual pursuits in general, including Torah study.
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 22, 2015 at 0:50

You must log in to answer this question.

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