A Victimless New Year

There is an endless stream of bakashos, requests, we can ask for in the coming New Year.

We know we are to wish all whom we meet a shana tova to be inscribed for a good year.

We pray, hope and dream for ourselves and our family a year of health, happiness and prosperity. We pray for peace and security for Eretz Yisrael especially during these trying times. We pray extra hard for the well being of our children.

Yet we know a sobering fact is that not all people will live in tranquility. That is the cycle ol life and a natural order of the world as G-d created it. This is reflected in one of the most solemn prayers on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, Unesaneh Tokef wherein we pray to G-d for life and not death, sustenance and not starvation, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer.

Many people make lists for themselves be it a shopping list, errands to run or calls to make. Some people also have a written or a mental list of physically or emotionally sick people that they pray should be healed.

Let’s add to our lists to pray for a¬†victimless new year.

Every day of the year many people will become victims. Some will suffer in silence and others in shame. Some suffer great physical pain such as a cancer victim others suffer emotionally, those who are severley depressed or unusually anxious.

We will read local and national crime statistics of victims of a burglary, car theft or an assault. We may even know a friend or neighbor who may be such a statistic. The perpetrators of such crimes are most often strangers unknown to their victim.

Yet there is a group who may become victims of physical or emotional harm even of crimes all by people well known to them.
A person could only become a victim at the hands of a victimizer, a perpetrator, a person who desires and requires to control another.

Examples unfortunately abound.
These may include a victim of malicious gossip; a child victim of neglect or physical abuse at the hands of his or her parents; a conflictual divorcing couple whose children fall victim to their high velocity acrimony; unscrupulous divorce attorneys who wantonly allege a husband is sexually abusing his children or alleging a wife is emotionally unstable all the while victimizing the children causing them great emotional harm; a woman victimized by her husband be it emotionally or physically; manipulating a suffering adolescent in the throes of an addiction; taking financial advantage of an elderly person.

These are all too common examples of children and adults falling victim to abuse and harm almost always at the hands of a close relative, neighbor or friend.

The Unesaneh Tokef prayer concludes with the Congregation reciting in unison Repentance, Prayer and Charity remove the evil of the decree.

We could each add a personal prayer for a victimless year that we be more attentive and not rush to judgement, that we not cause emotional or physical harm to our children, spouses, neighbors, friends or co workers, that our kavod habrius our respect for Man not permit us to hurt or inflict pain on them.

Do unto others may literally mean do not make a person a victim such that you would not want to be.

In this merit may we be deserving all the rewards we pray for and that  G-d bestows on us in the coming New Year.

About the Author
David Mandel is Chief Executive Officer of OHEL Children's Home and Family Services in New York