Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: I am a seventh-grader, and after next year, b’ezras Hashem, I will be starting high school. My big sisters told me that when the time for high school registration approaches, they start “checking out” the girls. I want to know what I am supposed to answer if they call me to ask about girls who are not so good. Should I tell them the truth? Should I try to hide the negative things?

A: The very idea of asking girls about their friends in order to decide if they should be accepted to high school sounds very strange. It is hard to believe that the schools actually do so, for two reasons:

  1. It is hard to rely on the opinion of an eighth-grader in matters such as yiras Shamayim, middos, tznius standards, carefulness in halachah, serious attitude to studies and such — areas that the high schools must verify. As a young girl, she does not have insight into chinuch, she is unable to understand other students’ true nature and certainly, one cannot rely on her judgment.
  2. Even if we were to say that the girl being asked is unusual in her ability to discern her friends’ character traits, she would also have to be an expert in hilchos shemiras halashon. She would have to know what is really considered l’to’eles, for a constructive purpose, what is likely to change as soon as the girl starts high school and what not, etc. Therefore, it is not proper to ask girls about their friends.

Even if we weren’t speaking of essential areas that are dependent on understanding and interpretation, but rather of technical details, like: frequent latenesses/absences, doing homework, and so on — it would seem that the girl should not give information about her friends for the reasons we mentioned, especially the second. If they ask her, she should simply reply: “I was instructed not to give information about anyone.”

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.