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What are the earliest sources that state that charity ought to optimally be used to support Torah study. I.e. if one can choose various charitable causes to support, that s/he should choose to donate towards Torah study. (Looking particularly for pre-18th century sources).

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    Over poor people?? – Double AA Apr 19 '15 at 1:52
  • @DoubleAA Over any charitable cause including poor people. – mevaqesh Apr 19 '15 at 2:15
  • Can you cite that such a position exists at all, that we should search for early predecessors? – Double AA Apr 19 '15 at 2:16
  • @DoubleAA I have heard it repeatedly in the name of poskim, and I myself heard it from a posek although I wont name him because I am (as you may have guessed) somewhat skeptical. I do know somewhat of a source in the Prisha's interpretation of "gadol talmud torah yoser meihatzalas nefashos" which is that one should contribute towards Torah study rather than towards saving lives (e.g. of captives who will be killed). However, the Taz and all the other poskim I saw write that this is a tragic and complete mistake. – mevaqesh Apr 19 '15 at 2:20
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    Just to clarify (since you say "Over any charitable cause including poor people"), you're discussing donating money to non-poor Torah scholars, in order to... provide for luxuries?? – msh210 Apr 19 '15 at 4:49

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