In this episode of the 18Forty Podcast, David sits down with Rabbi Daniel Feldman, a Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University and an author to discuss the role of comedy in Jewish thought and practice.
We usually think of learning Torah as something serious and of comedy as incompatible with it. It is therefore natural to assume that comedy doesn’t have value, or at least that it doesn’t have inherent value, according to the Torah. The Torah even prohibits something called “leitzanus,” which many translate loosely to mean “humor.” Is there any value in humor beyond helping us cope with life’s hardships? What is the prohibited act of “leitzanus,” and how does that tie into the Torah’s view on humor in general? Are there any examples of humor in the Torah? Can we make jokes about the Torah and other important topics? And if we can, how far is too far?
Tune in as Rabbi Daniel Feldmand discusses the sometimes surprising answers to these questions.