Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Resh Kalla
(334 words)

Resh kalla (head of a row) was an Aramaic title bestowed upon leading members of the academies in Babylonia (see Yeshivot in Babylonia/Iraq) and prominent figures in the Diaspora communities. It was often substituted with its Arabic equivalent, raʼs al-kull, the Hebraicized form rosh kalla, or with the Hebrew term alluf (chief). The title derives from the circumstance that scholars in the Babylonian academies were organized in rows, with each row assigned a “head” who sat in the first row. The post was based largely on inheritance but also upon scholarly a…

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Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman, “Resh Kalla”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 26 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_SIM_0018350>
First published online: 2010

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