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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Are So Many Comedians Jewish?

Laughing has been an important part of Judaism since biblical times. Most are familiar with the famous story of Abraham and Sarah, who were not able to have children together until reaching an unnaturally old age. When God's messenger gave the couple the happy news, they both laughed (albeit for different reasons). Because of this laughter, the heir to Judaism was named Yitzhak (Isaac), which means Laugh. What a laugh Abraham and Sarah had together!

The history of Jewish merrymaking does not end in the Bible. We find in talmudic times (about 2,000 years after Abraham and Sarah) the account of how a great Sage (Rabbah) used to begin each of his lessons with a joke. Yes, a joke.
Joel Olsteen does the same thing today.

The name Isaac comes from the word "Yitzhak" (also Yitzchaq) in Hebrew, which means "Laughing One", "laughter" or "to laugh".