Kovno Kollel
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Kovno Kollel

Kovno Kollel also known as Kollel Perushim of Kovno or Kollel Knesses Beis Yitzchok,[1] was a kollel located in Kaunas, Lithuania. It was founded in 1877[2] by Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin Salanter[3] when he was 67.

Kovno Kollel's purpose was the furtherance of hora'ah (expertise in deciding matters of Jewish law) and musar - by supporting and guiding exceptional Torah scholars in their development as authorities.

Library book stamp, Kovno Kollel Library


In 1877, Rabbi Yisroel ben Ze'ev Wolf Lipkin - also known as Yisroel Salanter - founded a Kollel (a yeshiva for young, mostly married, men) in the city of Kaunes (Kovno), Lithuania.[4]

The purpose of this Kollel was to teach aspiring scholars the ways of the Musar movement (of which Lipkin was the founder), a non-Hasidic Orthodox movement that sought to emphasize ethical conduct and spiritual devotion.

The project received the blessings, and eventually the name, of the Kovno Rav and posek hador (the generation's outstanding authority in Jewish law), Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor, the rabbi of Kovno.

Over the course of several decades the Kovno Kollel grew in size as well as reputation and came to be closely associated with the Musar movement - all of which was possible in a city with as vibrant a Jewish community as that which was found in Kovno before the Second World War.

When the Nazis invaded and occupied Kovno the Kollel suffered the same tragic fate as most of the city's Jewish residents.[5]


Until 1877, yeshivas only subsidized students until they got married (at an early age). When the Kollel was established, Rabbi Salanter was attacked by many, precisely for this point. He instituted the practice of paying a small salary to married students to continue their advanced Talmudical studies. He defended this innovation because he said that he was training leaders. His argument was that the need for well-trained communal leaders mandated this drastic action. The justification was that these individuals would eventually serve the community, and it was not that because they sat and learned that they should be supported.

By 1877-1878, ten scholars[4] had begun their full-time studies, following a curriculum which included the study of musar literature. In 1879, Rabbi Spektor became its head. Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel served as the mashgiach of the kollel. Rabbi Spektor's son, Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Rabinowitz[6] accepted the administrative responsibilities and was one of the roshei kollel (heads of the kollel), while Rabbi Avrohom Shenker and Rabbi Finkel conducted the internal affairs. Under the latter's guidance, the book Eitz Pri was published, featuring essays by Rabbis Salanter and Spektor - including a foreword by the then lesser-known Rabbi Yisroel Meir HaKohen (the "Chafetz Chaim").

In 1880, Finkel left the kollel so he could devote himself to establishing more kollelim throughout Eastern Europe. In 1880, Spektor also left the Kollel, and Salanter's student Yitzchak Blazer[7] became its new head. Under Blazer's direction, the kollel came to be "considered by its contemporaries as a bastion of the Mussar movement," and was attacked by the Mussar movement's opponents.[8]

The Kovno Kollel was later transferred to Slabodka, a suburb of Kovno, where Rabbi Shimon Zvi Dubiansky was appointed rosh kollel and served there until the outbreak of World War II.

Chavrei kollel (Kollel members)

See also


  1. ^ "Kovno Kollel". Spectroom.com. The Kovno Kollel also known as Kollel Perushim of Kovno or Kollel Knesses Beis Yitzchok, was ...
  2. ^ Shimon Yosef ben Elimelekh Meler (2006). Prince of the Torah Kingdom: Excerpts. ISBN 1583305831. Kollel Kovno was the first kernel of the yeshivah, established in 5637 (1877).
  3. ^ "herbert ta - The Breman Museum" (PDF). TheBreman.org (Breman Museum). Yitzchak Elchanan Yeshiva is also known as the Kovno Kollel (also known as ... It was founded in 1877 by Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin Salanter)
  4. ^ a b "Kollel". ... the Kovno Kollel, the "Kollel Perushim" founded in Kovno (Lithuania) in 1877. The ten students were required to separate from their families, except for the Sabbath, and devote themselves to studying for the Rabbinate.
  5. ^ "In Kovno" (PDF). On 12 Tamuz. 5701 (1941), Rav Elchonon was murdered in Kovno along with ... Within six months of the German occupation, half of all the Jews of Kovno ...
  6. ^ For a biography of Rabbi Rabinowitz, see pp. 195-200 of Jacob Mark's Gedolim Fun Unzer Zeit (Oryom Press, New York, NY, 1927)
  7. ^ Berel Wein (1990). "Triumph of Survival: The Story of the Jews in the Modern Era 1650-1990". ISBN 0899064981. ... Kovno, 1877, ... joined by Rabbi Yitzchak Blaser
  8. ^ Immanuel Etkes, Rabbi Israel Salanter and the Mussar Movement, 275
  9. ^ Sofer, D. "Rav Yosef Yoizel Horowitz ZT"L The Alter of Novardok". Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 2012.

Coordinates: 54°54?30?N 23°53?30?E / 54.90833°N 23.89167°E / 54.90833; 23.89167

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