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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Baba Kamma
'A cattle dealer may, however, buy and slaughter, or buy and [even] keep for the market. He may, however, not retain the animal he bought last for thirty days.'
R. Gamaliel was asked by his disciples whether it is permissible to breed [small cattle]. He said to them: 'It is permissible.' But did we not learn: 'IT IS NOT RIGHT TO BREED'? — What they asked him was really this: 'What about retaining [it]?'1 He said to them: 'It is permissible, provided it does not go out and pasture with the herd, but is fastened to the legs of the bed.'
Our Rabbis taught:2 There was once a certain pious person3 who suffered with his heart, and the doctors on being consulted said that there was no remedy for him unless he sucked warm milk every morning. A goat was therefore brought to him and fastened to the legs of the bed, and he sucked from it every morning. After some days his colleagues came to visit him, but as soon as they noticed the goat fastened to the legs of the bed they turned back and said: 'An armed robber4 is in the house of this man, how can we come in to [see] him?' They thereupon sat down and inquired into his conduct, but they did not find any fault in him except this sin about the goat. He also at the time of his death proclaimed: 'I know that no sin can be imputed to me save that of the goat, when I transgressed against the words of my colleagues.'
R. Ishmael5 said: My father's family belonged to the property owners in Upper Galilee. Why then were they ruined? Because they used to pasture their flocks in forests, and to try money cases without a colleague.6 The forests were very near to their estates, but there was also a little field near by [belonging to others], and the cattle were led by way of this.
Our Rabbis taught: If a shepherd7 desires to repent,8 it would not be right to order him to sell immediately [the small cattle with him], but he may sell by degrees. So also in the case of a proselyte to whom dogs and pigs fall as an inheritance,9 it would not be right to order him to sell immediately, but he may sell by degrees. So also if one vows to buy a house, or to marry a woman in Eretz Yisrael,10 it would not be right to order him to enter into a contract immediately, until he finds a house or a woman to suit him. Once a woman being annoyed by her son jumped up [in anger] and swore: 'Whoever will come forward and offer to marry me, I will not refuse him', and as unsuitable persons offered themselves to her, the matter was brought to the Sages, who thereupon said: Surely this woman did not intend her vow to apply save to a suitable person. Just as the Sages said that it is not right to breed small cattle, so also have they said that it is not right to breed small beasts. R. Ishmael said: It is however allowed to breed village dogs,11 cats, apes, huldoth sena'im [porcupines], as these help to keep the house clean.12 What are 'huldoth sena'im'? — Rab Judah replied: A certain creeping animal of the harza [species]. Some say, of the harza [species]13 with thin legs which pastures among rose-bushes, and the reason why it is called 'creeping' is because its legs are [short and] underneath it.
Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: We put ourselves in Babylon with reference to the law of breeding small cattle on the same footing as if we were in Eretz Yisrael. R. Adda b. Ahabah said to R. Huna:14 What about your small cattle? He answered him: Ours are guarded by Hoba.15 He, however, said to him: Is Hoba prepared to neglect her son so much as to bury him?16 In point of fact, during the lifetime of R. Adda b. Ahabah, no children born of Hoba survived to R. Huna. Some report: R. Huna said: From the time Rab arrived in Babylon,17 We put ourselves in Babylon with reference to breeding small cattle on the same footing as if we were in Eretz Yisrael.
Baba Kamma 80b
nor Samuel before R. Assi,1 nor R. Assi before Rab.2 They therefore argued who should go in last, [and it was decided that] Samuel should go in last, and that Rab and R. Assi should go in [together]. But why should not either Rab or R. Assi have been last? — Rab [at first] was merely paying a compliment to Samuel,3 to make up for the [regrettable] occasion when a curse against him,4 escaped his lips;5 for that reason Rab offered him precedence.6 Meanwhile a cat had come along and bitten off the hand of the child. Rab thereupon went out and declared in his discourse: 'It is permissible to kill a cat, and it is in fact a sin to keep it,7 and the law of robbery8 does not apply to it, nor that of returning a lost object to its owner.'9 Since you have stated that it is permissible to kill it, why again state that it is a sin to keep it? — You might perhaps think that though it is permissible to kill it, there is still no sin committed in keeping it; we are therefore told [that this is not so]. I could still ask: Since you have said that the law of robbery8 does not apply to it, why again state that the law of returning a lost object to its owner does not apply to it?10 — Said Rabina: This refers to the skin10 of the cat [where it was found dead]. An objection was raised [from the following]: R. Simeon b. Eleazar says: It is permissible to breed village dogs, cats, apes and porcupines, as these help to keep the house clean. [Does this not prove that it is permissible to breed cats?] — There is, however, no contradiction, as the latter teaching refers to black cats, whereas the former deals with white ones.11 But was not the mischief in the case of Rab done by a black cat? — In that case it was indeed a black cat, but it was the offspring of a white one. But is not this the very case about which Rabina raised a question? For Rabina asked: What should be the law in the case of a black cat which is the offspring of a white one? — The problem raised by Rabina was where the black was the offspring of a white one which was in its turn a descendant of a black cat, whereas the accident in the case of Rab occurred through a black cat which was the offspring of a white one that was similarly the offspring of a white cat.
(Mnemonic: HaBaD BiH BaHaN).12
R. Aha b. Papa said in the name of R. Abba b. Papa who said it in the name of R. Adda b. Papa, or, as others read, R. Abba b. Papa said in the name of R. Hiyya b. Papa who said it in the name of R. Aha b. Papa, or as others read it still differently, R. Abba b. Papa said in the name of R. Aha b. papa who said it in the name of R. Hanina b. Papa: 'It is permissible to raise an alarm [at public services]13 even on the Sabbath day for the purpose of relieving the epidemic of itching; if the door to prosperity has been shut to an individual it will not speedily be opened; and when one buys a house in Eretz Yisrael, the deed may be written even on the Sabbath day. An objection was raised [from the following:] 'Regarding any other misfortune14 that might burst forth upon the community, as e.g. itching. locusts, flies, hornets, mosquitoes, a plague of serpents and scorpions, no alarm was raised by [public service, on the Sabbath] but a cry was raised [by privately reciting prayers]?15 [Does this not prove that no public prayers are to be held on this score on Sabbath?] — There is no contradiction, as the latter case refers to [the period when the plague is in] the moist stage whereas the former deals with dry itching,16 as R. Joshua b. Levi said:17 'The boils brought upon the Egyptians by the Holy One, blessed be He,18 were moist within but dry without, as it says 'And it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast.'18
What is the meaning of the words, 'if the door to prosperity has been shut to an individual it will not speedily be opened'? — Mar Zutra said: It refers to ordination.19 R. Ashi said: One who is in disfavour is not readily taken into favour.20 R. Aha of Difti said: He will never be taken into favour. This, however, is not so; for R. Aha of Difti stated this as a matter of personal experience.21
'In the case of him who buys a house in Eretz Yisrael the deed may be written even on the Sabbath day.'22 You mean to say, on the Sabbath?23 — It must therefore mean as stated by Raba in the case mentioned there,24 that a Gentile is asked to do it; so also here a Gentile is asked to do it. For though to ask a Gentile to do some work on the Sabbath is Shebuth,25 the Rabbis did not maintain this prohibition in this case on account of the welfare of Eretz Yisrael.26 R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: He who purchases a town in Eretz Yisrael can be compelled to purchase with it also the roads leading to it from all four sides27 on account of the welfare of Eretz Yisrael.
Our Rabbis taught:28 Joshua [on his entry into Eretz Yisrael] laid down ten stipulations:
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