by Rabbi Amy Grossblatt Pessah
“Praised are You, Adonai, Our God, Ruler of the Universe who opens the eyes of the blind.”
The other day I was driving my daughter to school. It was a typical morning except for the fact that she had just gotten her first pair of glasses. She was instructed to wear them at school and, if needed, at other times during the day. Carefully, she removed them from their case and gently placed them on her face.
A few seconds later I hear an exuberant, “I love the world.” I waited before responding, and then she continued, “I love the world, Mom. It is so beautiful. Is this what everyone else sees? Wow, look at all the colors. It’s so bright. I just love it, Mom.” I wasn’t quite sure how to respond, but I was sure that I had just witnessed God opening up the eyes of the blind. Despite the fact that I felt like a horribly negligent parent for allowing her vision to get so poor without my having noticed, I was grateful for having witnessed her experience the world in living color.
Using my daughter’s experience allows me to understand one meaning behind this prayer. My daughter’s “somewhat blind” eyes were opened to see the beauty of the world. I will always remember the look of awe and wonder on her face as our ordinary drive to school became extraordinary.
While thanking God for opening up the eyes of the blind can be read literally, I believe that these words can also be read figuratively. All of us are metaphorically “blind” in different situations. Some of us are “blind” to others’ feelings; some of us are “blind” to new experiences; and some of us are “blind” when dealing with certain subject areas such as physics, economics, or English. Asking God to open our eyes means allowing ourselves to see things from a fresh perspective or gaining an understand- ing that we might not have had previously. I believe that sharing this idea with our kids can be extremely helpful, especially as they mature.
There are many things that at first try we may not succeed in, like being a good friend. It takes time to learn to read social cues, to understand facial expressions, to be patient and understanding, and to learn how and when to put others’ needs before your own. Many elements are involved in being a good friend; but once this process is learned and eventually integrated into our children’s psyches, they won’t have to go through the “Friendship Checklist.” Instead, they will know intuitively how to be a good friend because their eyes will have been opened.
Obtaining this gift of understanding, of sight, both literally and figuratively, can fill us with gratitude. Gratitude to see the beauty in our world on a daily basis, not just when we put glasses on for the first time. Gratitude for the gift of being able to obtain a new understanding, a fresh perspective that can help us navigate through relationships, situations, and ultimately, life itself. 
In a few weeks, we will celebrate the New Year 5781 and celebrate the birthday of the world. May this year provide us with opportunities to find beauty, notice our blessings, and express deep gratitude for all the goodness we have in our lives. May you each have a happy, healthy, sweet, safe New Year.
Amy Grossblatt Pessah is a rabbi, author, spiritual director and mom. Serving various communities and demographics across the country, Amy has been a Jewish educator for over twenty-five years, with a specialization in Jewish Family Education. She received her masters degree in Jewish education from HUC-JIR and her ordination from Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She lives in Florida with her husband, Aryeh and together they are the proud parents of three young adults.
 Reprinted with permission from Parenting on a Prayer: Ancient Wisdom for Raising Modern Children, Ben Yehuda Press, 2020.