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?
  • 1
    That Gemara also says you should slaughter an Am haAretz on Yom Kippur. Clearly it's not meant as literally binding....
    – Double AA
    Apr 11 '18 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
    Apr 11 '18 at 21:48
  • 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. Apr 12 '18 at 14:44
  • 3
    @DannySchoemann Looks "Did he mean kosher?" Looks again, thinks "Ah" :D
    – ezra
    Apr 13 '18 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
    Feb 8 '19 at 15:58

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.

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