For the week ending 8 December 2012 / 23 Kislev 5773

Helping Copiers on Exams

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: One of my classmates in school has not been very successful in mastering the material we studied this semester and is scared stiff about failing the final exam we will soon be required to take. He will be seated next to me and has asked me to allow him to copy my answers. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Cheating on exams is absolutely forbidden because it constitutes what halacha calls geneivat daat deceiving someone even when there is no financial gain. The copier is deceiving the person marking the exam by posing as someone who has demonstrated a mastery of the subject when this is really not the case. By helping him in this deception you become an accomplice to the sin.

Try your best instead to help your classmate study for the exam and point out to him that he now faces a challenge which will be repeated many times in his lifetime, a challenge which can only be successfully met by realizing that in the long run no one gains anything from doing things in a dishonest manner.

Life is full of tests and how he deals with the one coming up will prepare him for all the rest.

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