ALLUF (Heb. אַלּוּף), honorary title conferred on scholars of the Babylonian academies who had the privilege of sitting in the first row. The word is of biblical origin: the tribal chiefs of Edom were called allufim (Gen. 35:15ff.). (1) In the Bible, this word has two principal meanings: (a) "friend, companion, intimate" (cf. Jer. 3:4; 13:21; Micah 7:5; Ps. 55:14; Prov. 2:17; 16:28; 17:9); (b) according to the current interpretation, "chieftain," but more probably (and this also applies to the Ugaritic alp) "clan" (which is also a meaning of alluf in Gen. 36:15–43; Ex. 15:15; I Chron. 1:51–54). (2) In the geonic period alluf was synonymous with the title of the *resh kallah which was already current in the Babylonian academies in the talmudic period. Originally the title was conferred on the seven heads of the *Kallah who served in Sura and Pumbedita, but from the ninth century onward it was also bestowed upon prominent scholars and personalities residing in other countries. (3) Based upon Psalms 55:14 the term allufi u-meyudda'i was used in classical-style Hebrew as an address in letters to a friend or teacher. Similarly, prominent members of the Jewish community councils were often referred to among Ashkenazim as allufim. (4) Rank in the Defense Forces of the State of Israel, equivalent to major general (see *Israel, Defense Forces).
Mann, Egypt 1 (1920), 144ff.; 2 (1922), 58ff.; S. Eppenstein, Beitraege zur Geschichte und Literatur im geonaeischen Zeitalter (1913), 11ff.; Poznański, in: Ha-Kedem, 2 (1908), 91–96; I. Davidson, Saadia's Polemic (1915), 35; Lewin, in: Ginzei Kedem, 3 (1925), 14ff.