Learning in Kollel as an Individual and as a Community

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The Gemara[1] explains that there was once an intense dispute between Rabbi Yishmael and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai whether it was appropriate to learn full-time and rely on Hashem to work out a person's livelihood or to both work and learn. The conclusion of the gemara is that many people tried Rabbi Shimon's system and failed, while many times Rabbi Yishmael's system and succeeded.

Value 1: Making a Parnasa

  1. See the Parnasa page for reasons as to why there is a halachic imperative to make a Parnasa.

Value 2: Learning Torah is Unique

  1. Learning sustains the upkeep of the world and without the continued presence of Torah study the world would cease to exist.[2]

Making a Stipend for Learning

  1. The Rambam holds that it is forbidden to make money from learning Torah. However, the Kesef Mishna and many others write how we're simply unable to both learn and earn a living without taking money to learn. Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Ovadia Yosef concur that it is permissible to take a stipend for learning in Kollel and one shouldn't be concerned with the opinion of the Rambam on this matter.
  2. There is a positive value to donate money for the support of Torah study.[3]


  1. Gemara Brachot 35b
  2. The Gemara Avoda Zara 3a states that Hashem made a pact with the heavens and earth stating that if Bnei Yisrael wouldn't accept the Torah, He would send it back into a state of chaos. Mishna Avot 1:2 says that Torah is one of the 3 pillars upon which the world stands. See further in Nefesh HaChaim Shaar 4.
  3. Tosfot (Ketubot 49a s.v. kal)