The baraita continues: And a butcher may buy small domesticated animals and slaughter them, and again buy small domesticated animals and keep them for a while, provided that he does not keep the last one of them that he bought beyond thirty days.
His students asked Rabban Gamliel: What is the halakha with regard to raising small domesticated animals in Eretz Yisrael? Rabban Gamliel said to them: It is permitted. The Gemara interrupts its citation of the baraita to pose a question: How could Rabban Gamliel say this? But didn’t we learn in the mishna: One may not raise small domesticated animals in Eretz Yisrael?
Rather, the text of the baraita must be emended, and they actually raised this dilemma before him: What is the halakha with regard to keeping them for a while? The Gemara resumes the quotation of the baraita: Rabban Gamliel said to them: It is permitted, provided that the animal does not go out and graze among the flock. Rather, one should tie it to the legs of the bed in his house.
The Sages taught in a baraita: There was an incident involving a certain pious man who was groaning, i.e., suffering, due to a pain in his heart. Those caring for the man asked the physicians what to do for him, and they said: There is no other remedy for him but that he should suckle warm milk every morning. And they brought him a she-goat and tied it to the leg of the bed for him, and he would suckle milk from it every morning.
Days later, his friends came in to visit him. When they saw that she-goat tied to the legs of the bed, they turned back, saying: There is an armed bandit in this man’s house, and we are going in to visit him? They referred to the goat in this manner because small animals habitually graze on the vegetation of others, thereby stealing their crops.
His friends sat down and investigated this pious man’s behavior, and they could not find any sin attributable to him except that sin of keeping that she-goat in his house. That man himself also said at the time of his death: I know for a fact that I have no sin attributable to me except the sin of keeping that she-goat in my house, as I transgressed the statement of my colleagues, the Sages.
Rabbi Yishmael said: The members of my father’s family were among the wealthy property holders in the upper Galilee. And for what reason were they destroyed? It was due to the fact that they would graze flocks in the forests, and also because they would judge cases of monetary law by means of a single judge. And even though there were forests close to their houses, and therefore there should have been no problem for them to take their animals to graze in these forests, there was a small, private field and they would convey the animals on a path through it.
§ The Sages taught in a baraita: If there is a shepherd of small domesticated animals who repented, the court does not obligate him to sell all his animals immediately. Rather, he may sell them gradually. And likewise, in the case of a convert who came into possession of dogs and pigs (see 83a) as part of his inheritance, the court does not obligate him to sell all of them immediately. Rather, he may sell them gradually.
And similarly, with regard to one who vowed to purchase a house or to marry a woman in Eretz Yisrael, the court does not obligate him to acquire the first house or marry the first woman he sees immediately upon his arrival in Eretz Yisrael. Instead, he may wait until he finds the house or wife appropriate for him.
And there was an incident involving a certain unmarried woman who had a son who was distressing her, and she jumped up and took an oath impulsively: Any man who comes to marry me and will discipline my son, I will not turn him away. And unworthy men jumped at the opportunity to marry her. And when the matter came before the Sages, they said: She need not marry one of these men, as this woman’s intention in her oath was certainly to marry only a man who is appropriate for her.
The baraita continues: Just as the Sages said that one may not raise small domesticated animals, i.e., sheep and goats, so too they said that one may not raise small undomesticated animals. Rabbi Yishmael says: One may raise village dogs, cats, monkeys, and genets, because they serve to clean the house of mice and other vermin.
The Gemara asks: What are these genets? Rav Yehuda said: These are known in Aramaic as shartza ḥartza. And there are those who say that in Aramaic this animal is called ḥarza. This creature has short thighs and it grazes among the thorn bushes. And what is the reason that they are called shartza, a term that generally refers to creeping creatures that slither [shoretz] rather than walk? It is because its thighs are so short that it appears to slither instead of walking on legs.
§ Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: We in Babylonia have rendered ourselves like the residents of Eretz Yisrael with regard to the prohibition of the Sages against raising small domesticated animals. Rav Adda bar Ahava said to Rav Huna: What of your sheep and goats? How can you raise these animals in Babylonia?
Rav Huna said to him: Ḥova, my wife, watches the animals to ensure that they do not graze on land belonging to others. Rav Adda bar Ahava cursed Rav Huna and said to him: May Ḥova bury her son! In all the years of Rav Adda bar Ahava, no children of Rav Huna from Ḥova survived, due to this curse. There are those who say a different version of the above statement: Rav Huna says that Rav says: We in Babylonia rendered ourselves like those of Eretz Yisrael with regard to raising small domesticated animals, from the time when Rav came to Babylonia.
§ Rav and Shmuel and Rav Asi once happened to be present at a house where a celebration was being held marking the passage of a week of a newborn son, i.e., a circumcision. And some say it was a house where a celebration was being held marking the redemption of a firstborn son. Rav would not enter before Shmuel, for reasons the Gemara will explain;