THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
Avodah Zarah, 40
AVODAH ZARAH 40 (20 Nisan) - Today's Daf has been sponsored by Martin Fogel
of Carlsbad, California in memory of his father, Yaakov ben Shlomo Fogel, on
the day of his Yahrzeit.
1) THE "KILBIS"
QUESTIONS: The Mishnah (39b) lists items produced by a Nochri from which a
Jew is permitted to derive benefit. One of these items is a Nochri's fish
brine which contains a fish. The Gemara (39b-40a) explains that this refers
to a fish brine which contains one "Kilbis" or two "Kilbiyos" floating
The Gemara asks that if fish brine containing one Kilbis is permitted, then
why does the Beraisa need to say that it is permitted if it contains two? If
one Kilbis is a sign that the brine may be eaten, then certainly it may be
eaten if it contains two! The Gemara answers that the Beraisa is referring
to two separate cases. One case is when the barrel of brine is open, and the
other case is when the barrel of brine is closed.
This Gemara needs clarification. First, what is a Kilbis? Second why does
its presence in a container of brine permit the brine to be eaten? Third,
why is there a difference between the number of Kilbiyos that need to be in
an open barrel and the number that needs to be in a closed barrel?
(a) According to the RAN's text of RASHI, a Kilbis is a non-kosher fish.
According to our text of Rashi (39b, DH Kilbis), this Kilbis fish thrives
only in the brine of kosher fish. Therefore, the presence of the Kilbis in
the brine is a sign that the brine is kosher (one may not eat the Kilbis, of
Rashi (40a, DH Shotetos) explains that when there is only one Kilbis in an
open barrel, the presence of the Kilbis is *not* a sign that the brine is
kosher, because the Kilbis might have merely fallen into the barrel. The
presence of two Kilbiyos, however, does show that the brine is kosher, since
it is unlikely that two Kilbiyos would have fallen into the barrel. In a
closed barrel of brine, even one Kilbis suffices to show that the brine is
TOSFOS (40a, DH Kan) quotes RABEINU EFRAIM who rejects Rashi's explanation.
The Gemara later says that if a Nochri brings many open barrels and one of
them contains a Kilbis, we may assume that they are all kosher. If only the
barrel containing the Kilbis was open and the rest were closed, then only
the open barrel is assumed to be kosher and not the others. The Gemara seems
to say that we are *more* lenient when the Kilbis is found in an *open*
barrel than when it is found in a closed barrel, which is opposite the
explanation of Rashi.
Tosfos suggests a possible answer for this question on the explanation of
Rashi. He says that in the case of the Gemara later, the open barrel that
contained the Kilbis was found to contain *two* Kilbiyos, and not just one.
Since the open barrel contained two Kilbiyos, the brine in it is kosher, and
we may assume that the other barrels also contained this sign of Kashrus,
but since the barrels were opened, the Kilbiyos are no longer present. (The
BEIS YOSEF (YD 83, DH Nochri) notes that this is also the opinion of the
RASHBA (Teshuvos 1:104).)
(b) RABEINU EFRAIM explains the Gemara differently. When the Beraisa states
that the brine is permitted when it contains two Kilbiyos, it is referring
to a closed barrel. Two Kilbiyos are necessary in order to determine that
the fish were found there naturally. When the Beraisa says that the brine is
permitted when it contains only one Kilbis, it is referring to an open
barrel; we assume that the second Kilbis was removed or fell out when the
barrel was opened. This is why the Gemara later says that we may rely on the
presence of one Kilbis to determine that the open barrels are kosher.
(c) The RAN quotes RABEINU CHANANEL who explains that a Kilbis is actually a
kosher fish. The fact that a kosher fish is in the brine tells us that the
brine is kosher as well. Why should this be a sign that the brine is kosher?
When discussing a piece of fish, the Beraisa (end of 39b) says that its head
and spine must be visible. Why does the same stringency not apply to fish
brine? Rabeinu Chananel answers that the leniency in the case of brine is
due to the fact that the Isur is only mid'Rabanan (see ROSH 2:42 and RAMBAN
to 39b; TOSFOS (40a, DH Machlokes), however, argues that brine is prohibited
mid'Oraisa). (Y. Montrose)
2) AGADAH: BLESSED IS HASHEM FOR ENTRUSTING HIS WORLD WITH "SHOMRIN"
QUESTION: The Gemara relates that it happened once that Rebbi had a stomach
ache and he needed to drink apple wine produced by idolaters in order to
cure his ailment. After finding out that it is permitted to drink such a
beverage in order to cure his ailment, Rebbi located a Nochri who had three
hundred barrels of apple wine that had aged seventy years. After drinking
some of the apple wine, Rebbi's illness was cured, and he declared, "Blessed
is Hashem who entrusted his world to caretakers!"
What is the meaning behind this blessing of Rebbi?
(a) The MAHARSHA explains that Rebbi chose to praise Hashem using this
terminology because the wine was guarded by the Nochri for such a long time.
The HA'BONEH (in the EIN YAKOV) similarly comments that Rebbi was praising
the fact that Hashem assigns many of the special things in the world to
various caretakers so they can keep them for the use of people who need
(b) The Maharsha offers an additional explanation. When Hashem placed Adam
ha'Rishon in Gan Eden, his job was to be the caretaker of Gan Eden and
everything it contained. This is evident from the verse, "And He placed him
in Gan Eden to work it and to guard it" (Bereishis 2:15). After Adam ate
from the forbidden fruit of the Etz ha'Da'as, he was banished from Gan Eden.
Because man no longer had any responsibility for maintaining Gan Eden,
Hashem entrusted the entire world to the care of man. The OTZAR B'LUM (in
the Ein Yakov) explains that the Maharsha is saying that, initially, Adam
was permitted to eat only the fruits of Gan Eden under his care, like a
worker who is allowed to eat from the fruits of the field he is working, but
not from other fields. Adam was not permitted to eat any fruit which was not
under his care. After he was banished from Gan Eden, though, the entire
world was given to man's jurisdiction. Rebbi blessed Hashem for giving man
the ability to use all of the world's materials and produce for his needs.
(c) The SEFER BENAYAHU (by the author of the BEN YEHOYADA) prefaces his
explanation with a question. Why did Rebbi bless Hashem for entrusting His
entire world to caretakers, when all he received was a bottle of apple wine?
It would have been more appropriate to bless Hashem for entrusting *apple
wine* with caretakers! He explains that Rebbi realized the marvelous
Hashgachah Pratis, the Divine assistance, that occurred in his situation.
The fact that a Nochri had kept some rare apple wine for seventy years was
most unusual. Hashem must have made the Nochri keep the wine for such a long
time in order that it should be accessible to Rebbi when he needed it to
cure his stomach ailment.
The "world" to which Rebbi refers in his blessing is not referring to all of
the objects in the world (such as apple wine), but rather it refers to each
individual *person*, who is considered an entire world (as the Tikunei Zohar
says). Rebbi was blessing Hashem for entrusting *Rebbi's life* (i.e. his own
"world") to faithful caretakers by taking care of his needs so long in
advance. (See also BEN YEHOYADA.) (Y. Montrose)