“Do not be like servants who serve the Master to receive reward; rather be like servants who serve the Master not to receive reward – and let the awe of heaven be upon you.” This mishna from Pirkei Avot calls on us to emulate the example of our forefather Jacob, whose relationship with G-d wasn’t transactional, but based on love and overflowing gratitude. At the same time, it calls on us to remember the crucial ingredient of maintaining a respect and awe for the King of all kings. And it’s a formula that guides all of our relationships. Good relationships rely on mutual love and respect. If there’s only love, the relationship won’t have the boundaries it needs. And if there’s only respect and awe, then where is the warmth and passion? So every relationship – between husband and wife, parent and child, even between friends – needs to be driven by both love and respect, and freed from expectations and entitlement.

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