Kenneth Cohen

“He’s Watching”

There is a story told of the Chafetz Chaim, that he was traveling by horse and buggy. His driver did not realize that his passenger was a great and holy rabbi.

Along the way, the driver saw some deliciously looking fruit that he decided to take without permission. He told the Chafetz Chaim to give a shout if anyone was watching him commit his crime. After a minute, the Chafetz Chaim cried out, “He’s watching.”

The startled driver looked around and didn’t see anyone in the area. The great sage explained that it was Hashem who was watching and he cannot get away with his crime.

There are many laws in the Torah, such as putting a stumbling block before a blind person, cursing the deaf, or standing by our brother’s blood, and pretending we didn’t notice. The Torah tells us ויראת מאלוקיך, that “You should fear your G-d.” We must never forget that He’s watching and sees everything. He knows our true intentions and acts accordingly.

This is why Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai told his students on his death bed, that their fear of G-d should be as great as their fear of man. We must never forget for a moment that “He’s watching!”

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at