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Let us remember that G-d's watchful eyes are indeed always upon us. No, they are not there to judge us; that, we have to do. But they are there to care for us affectionately and ensure that we remain "nice people," who make the world "nicer" and brighter each day.

Rabbi Allouche

Did you know that the average American is caught on camera more than 75 times a day!

Although many may think that this is a blatant intrusion of our privacy – we need not worry. For, after all, we are always watched. No; not just by video cameras at the corners of our every street and every building. Rather, Judaism teaches that it is G-d Almighty who has his loving eyes on us, at all times. In the words of our Sages in the Ethics of our Fathers (Chap. 2:1): “Know what is above from you: a seeing eye, a listening ear, and all your deeds are being inscribed in a book.”

Similarly, in this week’s portion, G-d commands us to appoint judges and officials at the gates of our every city (Deuteronomy 16:18). The founder of the Chassidic movement, the holy Baal Shem tov, teaches that this holds true regarding our inner cities too: our bodies and souls. For they too deserve inner judges, guided by the watchful eye of G-d, to decide which sights, sounds, and feelings, are allowed to come in, knowing all too well, that not all that we see, hear and feel, can benefit them.

Modern science has also confirmed the brilliance of this teaching. In a recent study, researchers set-up a coffee table in the hallways of a North American university. A box was placed on the table, where people could leave some tips after serving themselves with coffee. On some weeks, a large poster with big eyes was hung by this coffee-table. On other weeks, a poster with flowers. On the weeks where the big eyes were displayed, people left an average of 2.76 times as much money as at other times. The conductor of this study, Ara Nozenrayan, author of “Big Gods”, concluded that “watched people are nice people.”

Perhaps, this is also why the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, who compiled a list of 12 verses for children to learn by heart, included in this list the following awe-inspiring verse from Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi’s Tanya book:

“And, behold, G‑d stands over him, and the whole world is full of His glory, and He looks upon him and searches his reins and heart to see if he is serving Him as is fitting.”

As we continue to prepare in earnest for the High Holidays during this Elul month of introspection, let us remember that G-d’s watchful eyes are indeed always upon us. No, they are not there to judge us; that, we have to do. But they are there to care for us affectionately and ensure that we remain “nice people,” who make the world “nicer” and brighter each day.

May G-d’s loving gaze inspire us to do good during our life’s every moment, and may it bring upon us Hashem’s abundant blessings for a good, sweet, healthy and happy New Year. Amen.