There is a special account in the Jerusalem Talmud about Elkanah, the father of Samuel, the biblical judge and prophet. In the Talmudic teaching, Elkanah was blessed with being the father of Samuel the anointed because Elkanah pleased God by making regular pilgrimages to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. The Talmud says Elkanah campaigned to bring the entire Jewish people to Shiloh. He is memorialized as a great leader because of his intent to encourage all Israelites to go up to Shiloh where God’s presence rested on the Tabernacle for over three hundred years.
The Jerusalem Talmud specifically states that Elkanah went to Shiloh four times a year. But, why four times? According to the Torah, there are only three holidays on the Jewish calendar that require the Israelites to make a pilgrimage: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. Elkanah apparently took upon himself an additional fourth pilgrimage to Shiloh every year as a present (נְדָבָה) to God.
The Jewish sages learned that Elkanah went to Shiloh four times a year from the verse, “And the man would ascend from his city, as was his custom, to bow down and bring sacrifices to the God of Hosts in Shiloh” (1 Samuel 1:3). But, how did they get four when the passage only indicates that Elkanah went to Shiloh from time to time to fulfill his vows and bring sacrifices at the Tabernacle?
The question that the Rogatchi Foundation presents to you, all our Bible enthusiasts, is this: How do we know, or how did the Jewish sages deduct, that Elkanah went to Shiloh four times a year?
Our friends at the Rogatchi Foundation are offering a special art prize to the first person who can answer this question. The artwork, pictured here, is called Chagall’s Dreams, Flying Over Jerusalem. It is a fine art photography collage from their 2016 to 2020 and it is a Limited Edition.
Please email your answer by May 28 to Inna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, please mark May 28th on your calendar as a special and holy day for both Jews and Christians!