“In that day Hashem will punish, With His great, cruel, mighty sword Leviathan the Elusive Serpent— Leviathan the Twisting Serpent; He will slay the Dragon of the sea.” Isaiah 27:1 (The Israel Bible™)
Marine biologists were baffled; a 12-foot-9-inch 1,164-pound great white shark, one of the most awesome predators in the ocean, was captured in the North Atlantic with huge bite marks on its head, indicating that something even more intimidating was out there, cruising the murky waters.
“It was clear that something had just grabbed his entire head,” Chris Fischer, founding Chairman of OCEARCH, a data-centric non-governmental organization formed about ten years ago that helps scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean, told McClatchy newsgroup.
“There was one healed wound on the lower jaw, perhaps from a previous year’s bite. And another that was over and across the top of his head. It was a very large animal that grabbed it, something significantly bigger than 12 feet,” Fischer said. “Anything that can grab an animal like that by the head is pretty impressive.”
The shark, named Vimy by researchers, was captured, fitted with a satellite tag, and released of the coast of Nova Scotia on October 4. A few weeks ago, a 15 feet 5 inch long great white shark named Unama’ki weighing 2,076 pounds was pulled in for tagging. A 17-foot great white eluded tagging last year in the same area.
The bite marks were estimated to be less than one week old. Fischer suggested that the bites were the result of mating rites; either a violent mating attempt with a larger female or competition with a larger male. The scientist believed that the shark was not in pain, noting that sharks have the ability to heal quickly from such wounds.
Another possible source of the wounds could be a leviathan. The leviathan is referenced in the Bible in Job 3:8, Job 40:15–41:26, Psalm 74:13–23, Psalm 104:26, and Isaiah 27:1.Though the word ‘leviathan’ in modern Hebrew refers to whales, marine mammals that subsist on plankton, the term originated as a formidable fish in Jewish mythology. A section of the Talmud (the Oral Law) describes the post-Messianic role of the Leviathan. In the Tractate of Baba Batra 75a, it is written that God originally produced a male and a female leviathan. God became concerned that in multiplying, the species would destroy the world. God killed the female leviathan, preserving her flesh for the special banquet that will be given to the righteous on the arrival of the Messiah. The banquet will be held inside a huge tent made from the Leviathan’s skin.
This midrash (homiletic teaching) is the source of an unusual blessing recited during the holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), in which we recite upon leaving the sukkah (tabernacle): “May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our forefathers, that just as I have fulfilled and dwelt in this sukkah, so may I merit in the coming year to dwell in the sukkah of the skin of Leviathan. Next year in Jerusalem.”