So a friend of mine showed me the following verse from Matthew 12:11 (strange to bring a New Testament quote into a halacha question, I know)
... they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?
He (my friend) asked me what was going on here. I understand the first bit about healing (I assume that this is a general reference to the prohibition against medicine due to grinding), but the second part is strange. It seems from here that the prushim agreed that lifting a sheep out and helping it is not a problem.
I am rather confused by this. Does it mean that there was an eruv or similar, and that one really is allowed to do quite a bit to ease the pain of animals on shabbat (the only exception that I had heard of before this was milking dairy cows)? Or is there something else that is going on in this quote?
Note: I believe that the people that were being spoken to here were the prushim (Pharisees), who I believe had the right mesora and everything, and from whom Jews today come.