The Gates of Humor Open

In difficult situations are we able to bring laughter and smiles to other people through making jokes and play? How readily are we able to laugh — and see the light side even in adversity?

A joyful heart makes for good health — despondency dries up the bones.
-Proverbs 17:22

There is a reviving quality to cultivating joy — bringing refreshment to a parched spirit. Allowing humor to be an everyday outlet brings us an influx of energy and renewal as we apply ourselves to the tasks that we have on hand. What happens when we lighten up?

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught that it is a great mitzvah to always be happy — and that we should use every possible way to bring ourselves joy with the exception of insulting other, not being vulgar and not presenting ourselves in a good light to the detriment of others. Abraham Joshua Heschel taught that when we sing Etz Chaim Hi, as we return the Torah to the ark, we are to recover a sense of childlike wonder — as we pray, “renew our days as in days of old.” What paths do we take that can sustain us with glee? In our world that prides itself on its civilizing presence, how do we operate within the bounds of appropriateness, as we seek joy?

What makes you laugh? Find a video or a comedy routine that brings you joy. Go out and be around funny people — laughter is contagious. Post a picture of you laughing, and keep it in a place where you can see it everyday. In a conversation with a friend, try to make them laugh — or revisit an old memory that cracks you both up. How can you play more as you work? How do we share difficult experiences with co-workers, friends, and family? How do we defuse a tense situation? Consider keeping a laughter first-aid kit around — items that bring you joy. Give one to a friend who needs a little cheering up. Today, become a healer with humor.