If the waters were boiling as the flood continued, how did the fish survive throughout the Mabul?

  • 1
    Not to mention that without a miracle happening, mixing freshwater and seawater would have been deadly to every single species except maybe salmon, and freshwater fish would have had a hard time knowing what were the freshwater lakes to swim over as the flood waters receded.
    – A L
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 17:05
  • 3
    Why do you think that the waters were boiling?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 18:13
  • @mevaqesh It's a midrash. I don't know where though.
    – ezra
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 17:09

2 Answers 2


A couple of possibilities:

  • I recall hearing once that it was a miracle (neis), but cannot remember where or from whom I heard/saw it.
  • I similarly recall that the waters around the Teivah were not boiling (source and reason), so it is quite possible the fish hung around there.
  • The waters were only boiling on the surface and not in the depths of the sea (no source, but conjectured here [question #402]).
  • According to one medrash, the Atlantic ocean did not boil and all the fish went there (see ibid.) [I think this is somewhat problematic for explaining fresh water fish, though]
  • links are dead. please update them
    – MonOve
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 2:35
  • 1
    @MonOve I have updated them
    – yydl
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 2:48

Chiddushei Agadot on Zevachim 113b suggests that the boiling waters only occurred where it was covering previously dry land. To wit, waters that predated the Flood (i.e. the various bodies of water) - which contained sea life - were not subjected to the boiling temperatures in keeping with the notion that sea life was unaffected as they had not become corrupted.

מכל אשר בחרבה ולא דגים שבים וכו'. שהם היו במקום שלא היה חרבה מעיקרא וצ"ל דלא היו נמי המים רותחין אלא במקום שהיה חרבה מעיקרא דאל"כ למה לא נמלגו הדגים ברותחין כדפריך לקמן גבי ראם וק"ל:

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