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Just prior to the start of Yom Kippur this year, a young child corrected me when I mentioned Yonah's whale and said that, "it wasn't a whale; it was a Dag Gadol."

I had to admit, this was good teaching on the part of the teacher. Or was it?

I understand that today's classification of animals categorizes a whale not as a fish but as a mammal. But does this mean that Yonah's "Dag Gadol" necessarily wasn't what we would today call a whale?

I don't mean to ask for a definitive answer as to what species of sea creature swallowed Yonah. I am just trying to find out if anyone has written anything convincing (or widely accepted theologically), of which I'm unaware, that states, "No, it was not a whale; it was a Dag Gadol."

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@ShmuelBrin, Thanks, yeah, I saw that. Not interested in what it might have been (unless some source says was it definitely was). I just want to know if someone notable says it definitely wasn't a whale. – Seth J Sep 15 '13 at 3:58
I've heard whales are not kosher because they lack scales, not because they lack split hooves. – Double AA Sep 15 '13 at 4:56
@double aa, interesting. – Seth J Sep 15 '13 at 5:03
Interesting question. in Zevachim, 22a: Raban shimon Ben gamliel says, anything created from water can be immersed in, Dav Yitzchak bar a vdimi says, you can immerse in the eye of a fish. Rashi- a Dag Gadol. I'm no taxonomiSt, but, Halachically, everything created from water has a similar status, at least as far as immersion. On the other hand we know that fins and scales are a defining factor for kashrus. I think there is definitely room to say that it was a whale, though. – user3114 Sep 15 '13 at 15:28

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