Inspired by a previous question that I asked, I viewed Talmud Bavli Pesachim 49a which says that a person should sell everything he owns in order to marry the daughter of a Talmid Chacham and by no means marry a daughter of an am ha'aretz. the reason is that if he should die, his children will end up being amei ha'aretz.


  • The daughter of an am ha'aretz may not necessarily be an am ha'aretz, herself. Certainly, today, we see numerous ba'alat teshuva as well as "FTP"'s ("Frumer than Parents" - this seems to be a common shidduch resume abbreviation, BTW) as well as other reasons. I would imagine that during the time of the Gemarah, there were also such daughters. It seems that the Gemarah focused attention on the parents regardless of the daughter's status. Why is that? Were they concerned that the parents would be a heavy influence?
  • Has anyone written a teshuva, etc. that would allow a man to marry a learned girl, today? If so, how do they interpret this ruling and why would it not apply, today?
  • As an extension, what if the girl is also an am ha'aretz but is becoming learned?
  • 2
    That Gemara also says you should slaughter an Am haAretz on Yom Kippur. Clearly it's not meant as literally binding....
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 21:34
  • 5
    I heard beshem Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky that any girl who went to Bais Yaakov is considered a bas talmid chacham. The gemarra wanted her to have yiras shamayim and knowledge of halacha. A girl who went to a frum school hopefully has that. Not sure about BT who went to seminary though
    – robev
    Commented Apr 11, 2018 at 21:48
  • 1
    Probably because girls were unschooled - and if they didn't grow up in a very religious home they probably wouldn't know how to keep a Josher home. Commented Apr 12, 2018 at 14:44
  • 3
    @DannySchoemann Looks "Did he mean kosher?" Looks again, thinks "Ah" :D
    – ezra
    Commented Apr 13, 2018 at 2:41
  • @DoubleAA That indeed is the simple answer: Those [hyperbole] dicta were meant to illustrate the severity of Torah ignorance, cf. R. Sherira Gaon here. (A highlight: R. Sherira declares if some think that the dicta were meant literally, then they themselves would be subject to being stabbed to death on YK bec. by demonstration of their ignorance [in misunderstanding the gemara].)
    – Oliver
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 15:58

2 Answers 2


Don't have precise source right now, but I recall reading that, at Talmud time, almost all the education of girls was from her parents; so bas am haaretz had little chance to be different. But nowadays, a girl that went to Bais Yaakov is like bas Talmid Chacham.

Maybe in name of the Steipeler, or the Chazon Ish.


First, despite the insinuations of some of the comments, the referenced gemara is very much brought l'halacha. See for instance the Rambam, Tur and Shulchan Aruch.

Second, regarding your second bullet, Pnini Halacha Mishpacha, Chapter 3, Section 5 has the following to say:

ראוי להורים להשתדל מאוד לחתן את בתם עם תלמיד חכם, ואמרו חכמים (פסחים מט, א): "לעולם ימכור אדם כל מה שיש לו, וישא בת תלמיד חכם, וישיא בתו לתלמיד חכם". ופירשו שאין הכוונה כפשוטו, למכור את כל הרכוש, שהרי צריך להשאיר רכוש כדי להתקיים ולהתפרנס, אלא הכוונה שהאב צריך להשתדל מאוד לחתן את בתו עם תלמיד חכם. בדורות האחרונים שבהם התרבו נשים שלומדות תורה, מבחינות רבות גם מי שאביה אינו תלמיד חכם, אם היא לומדת תורה והתורה מדריכה את חייה, יש לה את המעלה של בת תלמיד חכם. גם מי שקובע עיתים לתורה, והתורה מדריכה את חייו נחשב מבחינות רבות כתלמיד חכם.

So now-a-days, at least according to Rav Melamed, a learned girl is considered a "daughter of a talmid chacham".

  • Did anyone question if it is brought lehalacha? I'm confused
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 13:44

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