The Humor Corner

Are Jews Wired to Laugh?

Welcome to the Humor Corner (HC) of the Beth HaTephila Website. Check back to catch your Jewish chuckle, giggle, snicker, hoot, snort, cackle, chortle, guffaw, hysterics jitter, or double up of the day.

Beware, though, of drinking or eating while you gaze. Of course, HC comes with the usual disclaimers. CBHT is not responsible for any after effects …except for helping you feel better, lighter of head and tummy, and throughout the day flashbacks of what you read and chortled over.  Direct others to HC. Share humor with all. As Victor Borge  (Who?) noted, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

    Humor and the Jewish People

    366 words read out loud should take about 2.8 minutes

    Humor and the Jewish People

    The Jewish people lay claims to the oldest of written histories, as well as an endless list of grievances toward the mostly hostile world in which we have lived. We have endured over 4,000 years of persecution, slaughter, torture, inquisitions, pogroms, and death camps.

    We were enslaved by the Egyptians, slaughtered by the Philistines, exiled by the Babylonians, dispersed by the Romans, and butchered and chased from land to land in Europe. A history of pain and suffering, tragedies, of great losses, and of surviving against all odds. Jewish humor, too, has persevered over many a generation. Wit and laughter helped sustain the us in our misery. It also provides us with a unique and insightful tool for the examination of our chronicles, attitudes, and way of coping with reality.

    Jewish humor derives from the immense disparity between what was expected to be the glorious destiny of the “Chosen People” who were to be “light until the nations” and our long tormented and often bleak existence.

    We perceived ourselves as the “Nation of the Book,” the people who view themselves as an intellectual powerhouse and have pride in our ability in interpreting vast complexities of sacred texts found ourselves powerless in our dealings with hostile rules, malicious brainless peasants, and anti-Semites throughout our history. Though cohesive in our private world, we felt isolated and apart from the world at large. To help cope with this disparity, we Jews created a humor where laughter and tears, happiness and fear were inextricable.

    The typical Jewish joke revolves around those situations that are familiar to all Jews, geography notwithstanding. The point of a traditional joke was grasped as quickly by the shtetl dweller as by his more sophisticated brother in the large metropolis.

    The humor is full of acute social observations, exposing mental follies and the frailties of human nature. The gist of the jest is often a play on words, double entendres, animated facial expression, and conspicuous body language.

    An old Yiddish proverb expresses it poignantly, “burdens are from God, shoulders too.” Shoulders at times bear the load, and at times shrug it off. The humorous element of a conventual Jewish anecdote is as amusing today as it was in days past, forfeiting none of tis biting relevance to time.


    Lightly edited; Original article copyright David Minkoff
    May be freely copied for private use only.


    Post Yom Kippur

    Dr. Michael Miller, indicated people should combine regular exercise with 15 minutes of laughter a day for good cardiovascular health. "It is conceivable that laughing may be as important to maintain a healthy endothelium, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease," said Miller.

    A Laugh A Day May Keep Heart Disease At BAA
    Copyright @ Health Talk
    March 9, 2005

    Jewish humor examines the role of religion in contemporary life, often gently mocking the religious hypocrite.

    So, grab your phone and start or add to the necessary 15 daily minutes.  Time yourself. Rule is, you must read Humor Corner out loud with vigor and meaning. You cannot be a silent "laugher." Make noise, please.

    A Reform Rabbi was so compulsive a golfer that once, on Yom Kippur, she left the house early and went out for a quick nine holes by herself. An angel who happened to be looking on immediately notified his superiors that a grievous sin was being committed. On the sixth hole, God caused a mighty wind to take the ball directly from the tee to the cup - a miraculous shot.

    The angel was horrified. "A hole in one," he exclaimed, You call this punishment, Lord?

    Answered God with a sly smile, "So, who can she tell?"

    According to, this short Rabbi story should have taken you .07 minutes reading out loud.  Now search out 14.3 minutes more humor. Laugh and stay healthy.


    Victor Borge

    Enjoy 2.47 seconds of Hungarian Rhapsody


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