Rabbi Steinsaltz says:
Jose Ortega y Gasset, a Spanish philosopher/sociologist, wrote a book entitled The Revolt of the Masses, in which he says that nobility is best expressed by the French expression noblesse oblige.
Nobility is not about rights or riches; it’s about obligations. The higher someone’s noble rank, the more obligations he has.
Being Jewish means that we have obligations from the moment we open our eyes to the moment we go to sleep, from the day we are born to the day we are buried.
They never leave us, not for one moment.
There is no time in which we can say, “Okay, dear God, now we’ll part ways. We’ll meet again sometime.”
Being a Jew means that God intervenes in our pocketbooks, in our kitchens, in our bedrooms.
It doesn’t mean that we’re not allowed to do anything.
We’re allowed to do lots of things - but always with the notion that Somebody is there, and He’s keeping count.
From the essay by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz “It Takes a Giant” March 11, 2003