"M rs. Biderstein, can you tell the eim bayit that she should let me have late curfew tonight? I want to go to the Kosel.”

Curfew was at 10:15 p.m. prompt, and Henny was calling from the dorm at 10:10 to ask me for this special exemption. As the vice principal of a seminary, I’m willing to grant late curfew privileges in certain unusual situations, such as if a girl has a family simchah. But the Kosel happens to be one of the more dangerous places in Yerushalayim, surrounded as it is by Arabs, and as one of the adults responsible for Henny’s safety, I couldn’t allow her to be in that part of town late at night.

“I’m sorry, Henny,” I said, “but going to the Kosel is not a valid reason to get late curfew.”

“What?” she gasped. “Did you just tell me I can’t go to the Kosel? I want to daven to Hashem! Are you telling me I can’t daven?”

“Sure you can daven,” I said. “Hashem hears you wherever you are.”

“I don’t believe this!” she protested. “Is this a frum seminary? All I want to do is go to the Kosel, and you’re stopping me?”

“You could have gone earlier this evening,” I pointed out. “Or you can go tomorrow. But tonight, it’s too late.”

“That’s disgusting!” she shouted. “I can’t get over how mean you are! I need to go to the Kosel right now and you don’t even care! I’m never going to forgive you, not even on Yom Kippur!”

I didn’t think it was an aveirah to deny a girl late curfew so she could go to the Kosel, so I wasn’t particularly fazed by Henny’s threat. I was, however, disturbed by the way she was expressing herself. It’s one thing for a two-year-old to throw a temper tantrum, quite another for an 18-year-old to froth at the mouth that way. She probably has something difficult going on in her life, I told myself.

“I hate you!” she screamed, and hung up the phone.

For the rest of the school year, every time Henny saw me she turned her head to avoid making eye contact. Once, I was walking through a crowd of girls and my skirt brushed past Henny. She jumped away in disgust, as though a mouse had run into her.

Another time, she and a friend had to come to my house to get money for a school activity they were working on. When they arrived, they found ten or fifteen girls sitting in my living room and schmoozing with me. “I didn’t know this was the cool hangout!” Henny’s friend exclaimed.

“Yeah, right, some cool hangout,” Henny muttered.

When her friend sat down and started schmoozing with me and the other girls, Henny reluctantly found herself a chair — and sat down on it with her back to me.

All year, she found ways to show me how much she hated me. And all year, I told myself that I was the adult; she was just being immature, and I certainly wasn’t going to respond in kind. It’s not about me, I kept telling myself. It’s about some pain she’s carrying inside her. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 678)