“Dance as if nobody’s watching,” the saying goes. Let loose, be yourself and move without a care in the world.

Is that a good thing? There’s a certain amountIs that a good thing? of self-respect that allows for healthy inhibition, the decency to act appropriately when someone is watching.

But the truth is, there is always somebody watching. And that somebody is an all-knowing, all-encompassing Being: G‑d Himself.

That awareness is actually the basis of a relationship with G‑d and the necessary foundation for avoiding negative commandments, as well as fulfilling positive ones.

When I contemplate for even a few moments that the great and awesome G‑d wants to have a relationship with me—and is perpetually “standing over me,” aware and interested that I serve Him properly—then I am bound to be filled with awe in my heart, or at least, in my mind.

Love of G‑d, while a vital ingredient in my relationship with Him, cannot serve as the foundation for it. Love feels good, and therefore has a selfish component. In order to transcend my own desires and be willing to put G‑d’s will before my own, I need to access a basic level of awe of G‑d that will prevent me from rebelling against Him.

The great sage Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai blessed his students on his deathbed: “May it be G‑d’s will that you fear Heaven as much as you fear humans.”

Because when we know that someone is around, we are on our best behavior.

Tanya Bit: Pray as if somebody is watching, for that is the basis of serving G‑d.

(Inspired from Chapter 41 of Tanya)