The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 40a) mentions that if you find a "kilbis" (כילבית) fish in fish brine you can eat it. What does a "kilbis" fish translate out to in English?

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    – mbloch
    Feb 6, 2018 at 5:17
  • From my understanding of the context in which this word is used at the bottom of the previous page, I don't think this is a type of fish, but rather a characteristic or feature that is found in a fish that distinguishes it from being a kosher fish or not. See the last Rash"i at the bottom of p. 39b. I'll see if I can run the words by a (human) translator.
    – DanF
    Feb 6, 2018 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


Jastrow suggests that the kilbith fish may be a stickleback.

כִּלְ' , (כִּילְבִּית) כִּילְכִּית f. (=כילכלית, v. כלכל; or denom. of כלב, emp. כּוּלָב) name of a small fish, supposed to be a stickleback.

Dictionary of Targumim, Talmud and Midrashic Literature by Marcus Jastrow, 1926

Additionally, the Soncino Talmud to Avodah Zarah 35b (footnote 18), suggests a stickleback also:

The kalbith was a kind of stickleback which was supposed to breed only in brine formed with the clean species of fish.

Thank you, Tamir Evan, for finding this.

It seems that the kilbith's exact identity is uncertain.


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