The Tabernacle was made up of several layers of different types of materials, one of which was made from an animal called a taĥash
. The identity of the taĥash
is a matter of great controversy and was never resolved. Some authorities explain that the taĥash
is a monodon or narwhal (seen above), a species of whale. Narwhals travel in small groups, especially in northern ocean waters. It can grow to 6 meters in length. Its primary color is light yellow and it is spotted with numerous dark spots, the only cetacean with spots. A twisted tooth, up to 3 m long, grows out of one side of its mouth, to the extent that for many years it was thought to be the horn of the unicorn. It is possible that a group of these creatures approached the Red Sea and were thrown onto the shore or trapped there.
The narwhal’s appearance closely parallels the descriptions here: It is spotted, it has a
single horn on its forehead and the Sages were unable to determine its precise nature: domesticated or nondomesticated; kosher or non-kosher.