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 inside.
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 course).
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 kosher.
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)


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 Hash-m who entrusted his world to caretakers!"
What is the meaning behind this blessing of Rebbi?
(a) The MAHARSHA explains that Rebbi chose to praise Hash-m 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 Hash-m assigns many of the special things in the world to various caretakers so they can keep them for the use of people who need them.
(b) The Maharsha offers an additional explanation. When Hash-m 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, Hash-m 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 Hash-m 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 Hash-m 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 Hash-m 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. Hash-m 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 Hash-m 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)