Prayer Insights

Morning Blessings # 5: "To Really See"

Rabbi Shaul J. Leiter

The 3rd blessing facilitates the incoming flow of divine energy by sharpening our awareness of the soul's return to the body. The fourth blessing focuses on the most refined and divinely connected human attribute, the intellect, and describes the influence of the soul's influx upon it.

But how do we actualize this potential? How often do we ignore our own insight? In the matrix of social realities, the ability to practically utilize the distinction one has made between good and evil depends upon the effectiveness of one's power of "seeing."

In the fifth blessing we thank G-d for opening our eyes.

"Baruch atah…pokaiach ivrim."

"Blessed are you, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who opens the eyes of the blind."

Divine consciousness is referred to in the Zohar as "gazing at the specialness of the king."

Our spiritual leaders are called "the eyes of the flock." Jewish tradition defines a wise man as one who "sees" the ultimate results of his actions: his recognition of the unfolding essence of what he is involved with is so clear that he actually sees it.

In contrast to the divine soul, evil is only a created entity whose function is to stimulate the individual into actualizing his potential to choose between good and evil; it can not penetrate - "see" - to the essence. The forces of evil "have eyes yet they do not see" [Psalms 135:16].

(Obviously, not only physical vision is being referred to, but also to the mind's eye, spiritual sight, the capacity to see and understand the truth. This involves the capability both to discern [as described in blessing #4] and to practically apply the results of this discernment.)

Rabbi Shaul Leiter is the executive director of Ascent-of-Safed.

This series is translated and adapted from Meah Shearim and other sources

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