Mishmeres Hasholom – Ask the Rav

Q: I want to ask my teacher to change my seat because the girl sitting next to me gets on my nerves. Am I allowed to tell the teacher the specific reasons for my request, such as the dirty tissues the girl leaves on the desk, etc.

A: From your words, it appears that the student sitting next to you has a nature that is very different from yours, such as: she is not orderly, not thought-out, not considerate of her seatmate, and more, and this is likely to be very disturbing, especially when one has to concentrate on the lesson. Therefore, it is difficult to demand of you to be mevater and restrain yourself all the time, as you will end up suffering a lot and sustaining damage from the situation.

You are permitted to ask the teacher to change your seat, and you may also explain your request by pointing out the major difference between your natures, as we wrote above, and by describing how this bothers you and disturbs your concentration in class.

If possible, it is better to avoid mentioning the used tissues that the girl leaves on the desk, but if that is necessary to persuade the teacher, you may mention this detail, too.

It should be pointed out that if the desire to change seats flows from problems relating to the classmate’s poor middos, lack of yiras Shamayim, disdain for the Torah hashkafah taught in school, and such, then the complainant should give the teacher all the details and not look for ways to conceal the serious flaws of the seatmate.

The teacher must be made aware of this so as to deal with the girl herself, and also to safeguard the other students so they shouldn’t chalilah be damaged by her negative influence. Of course, in all cases, one should have sincere, constructive intentions.

The questions and answers above were taken from the Mishmeres Hasholom pamphlet in Israel. For details and inquiries please e-mail us at office@hasholom.org or call 972-2 5379160.

The views expressed are of the individual author. Readers are encouraged to consult their own posek for guidance.

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