Kovno Kollel

Kovno Kollel

The Kovno Kollel also known as Kollel Perushim of Kovno or Kollel Knesses Beis Yitzchok, was a kollel located in Kaunas, Lithuania. It was founded in 1877 by Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin Salanter when the latter was 67.

By 1877-1878, ten scholars had begun their full-time studies, following a curriculum which included the study of mussar. In 1879, Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor, the Rabbi of Kovno, became its head. Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel served as the Mashgiach of the kollel but in 1880 left this position so he could devote himself to establishing more kollelim throughout Eastern Europe.

Kovno kollel's purpose was the furtherance of "hora'ah" (expertise in deciding matters of Jewish law) and mussar - by supporting and guiding exceptional Torah scholars in their development as authorities. The project received the blessings, and eventually the name, of the "Kovno Rav" and "posek hador" (the generation's outstanding authority in halakha), Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor.

Rabbi Spektor's son, Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Spektor accepted the administrative responsibilities and was one of the "Roshei Kollel" (heads of the kollel), while Rabbi Avrohom Shenker and Rabbi Nosson Zvi Finkel (later known as the "Alter of Slobodka") conducted the internal affairs. Under the latter's guidance, the periodical "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").

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.

"Chavrei kollel" (Kollel members)

* Rabbi Naftoli Amsterdam
* Rabbi Jacob Eskolsky
* Rabbi Naftali Herz (later Rabbi of Jaffa)
* Rabbi Yosef Yozel Horowitz ("Alter of Novardok")
* Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky
* Rabbi Lechovitz
* Rabbi Dovid Leibowitz (the nephew of the Chofetz Chaim)
* Rabbi Yitzchok Meltzan
* Rabbi Chaim Rabinowitz

ee also

* Slabodka Yeshiva

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