WHOM ONE SHOULD MARRY
(R. Elazar): One should marry into a family of good lineage. Moshe married Yisro's daughter, and Yonason (who served idolatry) descended from him. Aharon married Aminadov's daughter, and Pinchas descended from him.
(Rava): One must check a woman's brothers before marrying her - "va'Yikach Aharon Es Elisheva Bas Aminadav Achos Nachshon";
Question: Since the verse calls her Aminadav's daughter, we know that she is Nachshon's sister!
Answer: It says "Achos Nachshon" to teach that one must check a woman's brothers before marrying her.
(Beraisa): Most sons resemble the mother's brothers.
Pesachim 49a (Beraisa): One should sell all his property (if necessary) in order to marry a Chacham's daughter. Even if he will die or be exiled, his children will (learn from her and) be Chachamim.
One should not marry the daughter of an Am ha'Aretz (ignoramus). If he will die or be exiled (from his house), his children will be Amei ha'Aretz.
(Beraisa): One should sell all his property in order to marry a Bas Chacham and to marry his daughter to a Chacham. This is like (seeds of) grapes of a vine planted with grapes of a vine. It is a nice match and yields proper progeny. One should not marry a Bas Am ha'Aretz. This is like grapes of a vine with grapes of a shrub. It is repulsive and does not yield proper progeny.
(Beraisa): One should sell all his property in order to marry a Bas Chacham. If he cannot, he should try to marry (in this order) the daughter of a great Tzadik; a head of the congregation; a treasurer of Tzedakah; a Rebbi of children. He should not marry a Bas Am ha'Aretz, for an Am ha'Aretz is Sheketz and his wife is Sheretz. It says about their daughters "Arur Shochev Im Kol Behemah."
(Beraisa - Rebbi): An Am ha'Aretz may not eat meat. "Zos Toras ha'Behemah veha'Of" - only one who engages in Torah may eat meat.
(R. Elazar): One may kill an Am ha'Aretz, even on Yom Kipur that is on Shabbos. One may not accompany an Am ha'Aretz on the road - "Ki Hu Chayecha v'Orech Yomecha" - if he is not concerned for his own life (he does not learn), all the more so he is not concerned for another's life!
(Beraisa - R. Meir): Marrying one's daughter to an ignoramus is like tying her up in front of a lion. Just like a lion tramples and eats (without waiting for his prey to die) without shame, an Am ha'Aretz hits his wife and has relations (without waiting for her to consent) without shame.
Rif (Pesachim 16a): In Chagigah (22a), we say that nowadays we accept testimony of an Am ha'Aretz. This refers to one who is ignorant, but he conducts properly. Here we discuss an Am ha'Aretz suspected of theft, murderer and incest.
Rosh (Pesachim 3:10): In Chagigah, it was enacted to accept testimony of an Am ha'Aretz. Here we discuss an Am ha'Aretz who sins to anger Hash-m. One may kill him due to Piku'ach Nefesh, for he is suspected of murder.
Rambam (Hilchos Isurei Bi'ah 21:32): One should not marry an Am ha'Aretz' daughter. If he will die or be exiled, his children will be Amei ha'Aretz, for their mother does not know the crown of Torah. One should not marry his daughter to an Am ha'Aretz. This is like tying her up in front of a lion, for an Am ha'Aretz hits and has relations without shame. One should sell all his property in order to marry a Bas Chacham. If he will die or be exiled, his children will be Chachamim. One should marry his daughter to a Chacham, for there is no disgrace or quarrels in a Chacham's house.
Shulchan Aruch (EH 2:6): One should strive to marry a Bas Chacham and marry his daughter to a Chacham. If he cannot find a Bas Chacham, he should try to marry a great Tzadik; a head of the congregation; a treasurer of Tzedakah; a Rebbi of children. He should not marry a Bas Am ha'Aretz.
Birkei Yosef (2, cited in Pischei Teshuvah 5): Mahariyo and others say that for many laws, nowadays no one is a Chacham. I say that we do not have even a budding Chacham (unlike Shevus Yakov 1:164). However, for marriage our Chachamim are Chachamim. Even though they are not like previous generations, also Amei ha'Aretz have declined. Actions are primary; The Chacham must have Yir'as Shamayim. One may prefer the daughter of a simple Heaven-fearing man over a Gadol ha'Dor's daughter, if he thinks that then his heart will be more open to Torah and Avodah.
Rema: It says about an Am ha'Aretz' daughter "Arur Shochev Im Kol Behemah." This refers to an Am ha'Aretz who is not careful about Mitzvos.
Beis Yosef (DH l'Olam): Rashi explains that an Am ha'Aretz' daughter is considered an animal because she does not understand that Torah is one's life and eternity.
Taz (5): Rashi holds that women are Mevatel their husband from learning because they think that if he engages in business, their situation in this world will be better, but engaging in Torah helps only for the world to come. They err. If a Bas Am ha'Aretz understands that Torah is life in both worlds, one may marry her in spite of her father.
Rebuttal (Shai l'Mora, in Rosh Pinah Shulchan Aruch): The Taz understood from the Beis Yosef that Rashi explains that she is considered an animal because she does not understand that Torah is one's life. This is wrong! Rashi cites 'Torah is one's life' regarding the coming matter, that one may not accompany an Am ha'Aretz!
Note: Based on our texts, this also refutes the Beis Yosef!
Birkei Yosef (4): According to the Taz, if her father is rich and will support his son-in-law, it is permitted. Many do so. In any case, people are not careful about the Isur to marry a Bas Am ha'Aretz.
Beis Yosef (DH u'Mah): The Tur brings from the Rosh that we discuss an Am ha'Aretz suspected to transgress in order to anger Hash-m. He is evil to Hash-m and to people. The Rosh said so about the Heter to kill him. The Tur understands that this applies also to 'he is Sheketz and his wife is Sheretz...' I disagree. The latter applies even if he transgresses for pleasure, or is not fluent in details of Mitzvos. Rashi says so.
Drishah (27 DH Aval): Perhaps Rashi supports the Tur. Rashi explained 'they are not fluent about Mitzvos' regarding wives of Amei ha'Aretz, not about Amei ha'Aretz themselves. This shows that we discuss an Am ha'Aretz who sins to anger Hash-m, but what we say about their wives is not limited to such people. She is Batel to (and like) her husband, and at the least she is not fluent in Mitzvos. This is why other laws of Amei ha'Aretz taught there (they may not eat meat, one may not accompany them) were not taught about their wives. All these matters were taught together, for all discuss a (male) Am ha'Aretz who sins to anger Hash-m.
Bach (8): The Tur wrote only that he is suspected to transgress, i.e. things that everyone knows to be forbidden, e.g. not to say Kri'as Shema morning and evening. He is suspected to transgress because he is not meticulous about Mitzvos to avoid transgression. 'To anger' does not exclude one who transgresses for pleasure. Rather, it means that he transgresses b'Mezid. He and his wife are called Sheketz because they intentionally are not careful about Mitzvos. It is as if they transgress to anger Hash-m. This excludes if he transgresses due to error. If he is established to engage in Torah, Chesed and conducts straightly, even if he is ignorant, he is considered a Chacham also regarding marriage. We hold like this.
Taz (6): Only a minority of people are meticulous about details of all Mitzvos! Rather, Sheketz is one who does not know matters of Nidah. They breed b'Isur, like vermin. It does not depend on transgressing to anger Hash-m. This is not limited to Amei ha'Aretz! Rather, the Tur excludes one who heeds his Rebbeyim, there is a solution for him; he can learn. There is no solution for an Am ha'Aretz who hates Chachamim. Even if he hears from the Chacham, he will mock him and not listen. The Tur discusses one who transgresses for pleasure, but we suspect that he would do so also to anger Hash-m.
Gra (38): The Rema rules like Rashi (49b, who says that they are not careful about Mitzvos. In the Shulchan Aruch, there is a note attributing the Rema's opinion to the Tur.)