Regarding the name "Elkanah" (Shmuel haNavi's father in Tanach), I have been unable to find its use as a given name among Jews from any period of history, including today. For example, I cannot find a single rabbi of note that had "Elkanah" as his given name.

  1. Is it correct that there is little to no evidence that Elkanah was ever used as a given name by Jews?

  2. If so, what might the reason be for "Elkanah" not being used as a given name?

  • 1
    My neighbor's name is Elkana. What evidence are you looking for?
    – robev
    Aug 24, 2020 at 3:01
  • I am looking for documentation that the name "Elkana" was a given name at any period in Jewish history. For example, evidence of the existence of a Rabbi or any other Jewish person of historical significance who was named "Elkana".
    – Yaavetz
    Aug 24, 2020 at 4:08
  • 3
    Lots of biblical names are not common nowadays, for whatever reason. It does not mean that the name is problematic. For example, there are almost no talmudic sages named Moshe or Aharon.
    – N.T.
    Aug 24, 2020 at 7:42
  • 1
    Search Hebrewbooks for authors containing the name אלקנה to find some useful examples
    – Double AA
    Aug 24, 2020 at 12:55
  • @N.T. Thank you, however names like Moshe and Aharon did become very popular later on in Jewish history. It seems like Elkanah was barely used in any era, which prompted my question.
    – Yaavetz
    Aug 24, 2020 at 21:48

2 Answers 2


@JoelK already pointed to Rav Avraham Elkana Kahana-Shapira who served as a previous Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi in Israel.

There is also the Dayan and Yardonov Rov - Rav Elkana Zoberman (1903-1959, Encyclopedia LeChachmei Galicia, II, pp. 974-975) who after being in Siberia during the War moved to America where he became a leading posek and more famously served with Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l on the Beis Din for agunos.


Otzar Hagedolim lists seven rabbis named Elkanah, including the (possible) author of Sefer Hakanah, an author of piyutim, a writer on Hebrew grammar, etc.

Most of them were from Greece or Candia (Crete), so it may be that the name was more commonly used among Greek Jewry than elsewhere.

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