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Heavenly Humor

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Topic: Comedy, Divine

Coby's Daddy from Jerusalem wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

This question is from my 4-year old son, Coby, from the Old City of Jerusalem: "What makes G-d laugh?"

Dear Coby's Daddy,

Your four year old son is asking a very deep question! And, of course, the answer to him is that G-d laughs at stuff that's really funny.

As the old Yiddish rhyme goes: "Ah mentch tracht, und Gut lacht." This means, "Man plans, and G-d laughs."

More than just a stitch of folk wisdom, this idea is well-based in classical sources. "The One who dwells in the Heavens laughs," wrote David, King of Israel, regarding the Divine take on those who try to wipe out the Jewish People (Psalms 2). "G-d snickers at them" (Ibid.).

The futility of anti-Semitic plans to wipe us out is -- ultimately -- funny. People make plans, but G-d "laughs" when He knows that these plans will never materialize.

Now, G-d's essence is beyond comprehension. We, the created, can't understand the Creator. Still, the Torah talks about G-d in ways we can relate to, such as "G-d's Hand," "G-d's mouth," even though G-d doesn't have a hand or mouth in the physical sense. So too, G-d does not laugh as we know it.

But you can't invent something if you don't know what it does. To invent the light bulb and gramophone, Thomas Edison needed to know what sight and sound were. Therefore, G-d, who created everything including our capacity for humor, certainly "knows" a good joke when He hears one.

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