Land animals, birds, wheat and fruit offerings all feature on the list of offerings that Bnei Israel bring for Hashem.

Is there anyone that discusses why there are no fish korbanot?

  • 4
    What about locusts?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 16:48
  • @DoubleAA Indeed!
    – bondonk
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 19:04
  • Possibly because they are not specifically mentioned as being "allowed" after the flood? Combine that with Rav Kook's A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace which cites the opinion that the 3rd temple won't have any animal sacrifices. Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 23:08
  • 5
    Note that it's only domesticated land animals that are brought as offerings (בהמות). Wild animals (חיות), like deer, are not. The birds that are brought are also domesticated species (doves), and wheat is a domesticated grain. It stands to reason that all fish could have been excused on these grounds too, there being no species that might have been considered anything but wild.
    – Shimon bM
    Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 0:41
  • 1
    @DoubleAA No locusts for a very simple reason: Locusts are considered a curse. The Mishna in Brachot mentions that there is no bracha for something that is a curse with an example of locusts. And would it be proper to offer something that is considered a curse as a sacred offering? Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 11:04

4 Answers 4


The Midrash Tanchuma (Vayikra 1:8) asks your question:

ולמה קריבין קרבן מן העוף ומן הכבשים ומן הצאן ומן העזים ולא מן הדגים, שנאמר, [ו] אם מן העוף עולה קרבנו, אלא בשביל שהם בשר ודם כמו האדם ויוצאין מבטן אמן כמו האדם, מכפרים על האדם. אבל הדגים, ביצים הם ויוצאין מהן וחיין.

And why do we offer up sacrifices from birds, sheep and goats but not from fish?

Because they (animals and birds) resemble man as they are born from the stomach of their mother like man. Thus, they atone for man. Fish, however, are eggs, that they emerge from and live.

I do have a pshat as to what this means (obviously birds come from eggs, too), but I'll have to add this in later..


In the journal Dialogue, vol. 5, there's an extensive article by Rabbi Eytan Feiner titled "Aquatic Perfection: The Fascinating World of Fish and Water," where Rabbi Feiner suggests that fish are from a realm which does not require further perfection [which may also explain why fish do not require shechitah].

He also refers to the (pseudo-)Hiddushei ha-Ran, Shabbat 108a:

כשבא נחש על חוה הטיל זוהמא עלי' ועל כל בריות שבעולם, ישראל שעמדו על הר סיני נפסקה זוהמא מהם ומן הבריות שהיו שם חוץ מדגים שלא היו שם.

  • @user9953 maybe you can contact him directly
    – wfb
    Commented Dec 9, 2015 at 18:03

The Ramban says the reason why their are no chicken Korbanos is because chickens are promiscuous. Seemingly, the same answer would apply to fish who mate frequently. (See also Kli Yakar, Parshas Behaloscha on Basar)

  • 7
    please cite source of Ramban
    – Yoni
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 17:24
  • Chickens are different from fish in that many fish don't mate per se. They reproduce via external fertilisation, its hard to draw comparisons of promiscuity regarding chickens.
    – bondonk
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 23:14

Considering the temple in Jerusalem as well as other early Israelite temples (Beit El, Shilo, Sechem, etc.) are all at least a couple of days travel away from a source of live fish, it should not be very surprising that fish sacrifice did not become common.

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