Thursday, October 2, 2008

Kollel III - Community Kollel

Jewish Action published a discussion by Rabbi Feitman of the necessity and impact of the community kollel
[...] Today, boys graduating high school almost automatically proceed to at least a year of study in a yeshivah gedolah (post high school yeshivah) in Israel or closer to home. They will return, almost invariably, with a deeper appreciation of Yiddishkeit, more committed to a lifetime of Torah study and permanently imbued with a profound respect for scholars and the unique world of the beit midrash. But some of them—more and more with each passing year—take the additional step of joining a kollel.* Instead of pursuing the formerly derigueur Jewish professions of medicine, law, business, and education, they will continue with full-time Torah study, beginning their married lives immersed in learning. (Kollelim are specific to married men; unmarried men can, of course, learn full time in a yeshivah but they are not formally members of a kollel.) ...

In addition to the traditional kollel, generally associated with a yeshivah gedolah, a new kind of kollel has developed, widely known as the community kollel. Here the yungeleit can pursue rigorous Torah study during the morning and afternoon with their own peers in the traditional manner. They then return home to join their families for a few hours and are back in the kollel by 8:00 PM. At this point, they study with members of the community on a one-to-one basis or deliver lectures and shiurim. Studying at the kollel are those ranging from sophisticated Torah scholars to people with minimal Jewish knowledge. Often the kollel becomes the new focal point for all Jewish events in the community. Furthermore, many of these kollelim hire outreach directors who are responsible for reaching out to all segments of the community and delivering lectures on college campuses, as well as in JCCs and senior citizen centers. Invariably the community kollel succeeds in having an enormous impact. For instance, the Toronto kollel, under the leadership of Rabbi Shlomo Miller, has influenced thousands of lives in its 34 years of operation. It has been instrumental in the opening of five yeshivot, five metivtot and even spawned another kollel last year. [...]


  1. The kollel in Toronto is a wonderful thing. It is a light of torah for the community and a lot of baal habatim make great use of it with its learned rabbis who provide shiurim for people at all levels and different walks of life. It should be carefully noted however that most of the full time students of the kollel are not payed stipends from the kollel. With the exception for exceptional prodigies.

  2. It is perplexing that so many take for granted that the Torah achievements of those who study and work are less than the achievements of those who only study. The Sages simply teach that, with the exception of rare cases, the truth is different. Could it be that our observations are wrong?

    Naturally, those who come to sin because they do not work, see Mishna Avot 2:2, will point out their virtues rather than their sins.

    Things have become utterly clear in our days, after the expulsion from Gush Katif. The extortion by religious parties in the Knesset on behalf of Torah institutions, has overtly reached the level of robbery. Which honest Torah student would want to be part of that?

    Do not forget that understanding of Torah does not depend on funding. It is HaShem who grants understanding. To whom will he grant it?


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