Rabbi Avi Weinstein

The Loveliest Of All was the Unicorn

In Uncategorized on March 17, 2009 at 7:18 pm

As we distance ourselves from the sin of the Golden Calf, we are once again engaged in building the Mishkan, the Tabernacle that will be the focal point for all Divine encounters.

The fabrics, gems and precious metals are of many kinds and Israel has been astoundingly generous.Amid the myriad of materials donated are skins of a certain animal, in Hebrew it is called a “Tachash.” The Jewish Publication Society (JPS) translation of this portion hazards a guess and translates these skins as those of a dolphin with a disclaimer saying that the Hebrew is “uncertain.” In Hillel’s Bronfman Edition of the Five Books of Moses, Everett Fox translates Tachash as “tanned” skins. Others have offered “sealskins.”

The earliest Aramaic translation, the Targum Onkelos, translates the word Tachash with an equally cryptic Aramaic word, sas-gavna which later Talmudists endeavor to unpack. Here are some sources for you to ponder.

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