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KOLEL (Heb. כּוֹלֵל; literally "comprehensive," "embracing all"), a word used in comparatively recent times to describe two entirely different groups. (1) It refers to a group of Ashkenazi Jews in Ereẓ Israel all originally from one country or from one district, the members of which received allocations from the funds collected in their countries of origin for their support. From a passage in the Megillat Sefer of Jacob *Emden (pp. 14–15) it would appear that the word originally referred to the organization in the country which collected the funds, and only later was applied to those who received them (for details see *Ḥalukkah). (2) The word kolel was subsequently also applied to institutions for advanced talmudic studies which were for married students, since the yeshivot were confined to unmarried students. This name was coined by R. Israel *Lipkin (Salanter). In 1878 he persuaded a wealthy donor in Berlin (who insisted on anonymity, but whose name was later revealed as Lachman) to devote a large sum of money to establish a yeshivah for young married men, to which he gave the name kolel perushim, perushim ("separatists") referring to those who separated themselves in order to devote themselves to study. In his stirring appeal to the Jewish communities for further support (Eẓ Peri, Vilna 1881), however, he does not use this name. The kolel, which continued to exist for a long time after his death, concentrated on the study of Lipkin's doctrine of *musar. In later years, however, and particularly in the State of Israel, it was applied to all institutions of higher talmudic studies for married students. The members of the kolel receive a monthly stipend sufficient for bare livelihood. In recent years the number of kolelim in Israel has grown to a considerable extent.


L. Ginzberg, Students, Scholars and Saints (1928), 161–3.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.