Can Humor Elevate a Soul? Originally Published November 10, 2022.

We have already discussed how study can elevate the soul of a lost loved one, doubly if we say the Kaddish DiRabbanan after studying since the Mourner’s Kaddish is embodied therein.

Some say that a similar path toward elevation is fond remembrance of time together.  This year, your correspondent has been remembering the eleven we lost on 10/27/2018 by the good humor and laughter each of them spread. 

Perhaps you, gentle reader, can increase our repository of happy thoughts and quotations, and we can remember them this way next year more fully.  Meanwhile, here are their names along with a smattering of smiles.

Joyce Fienberg, who often showed up at morning minyan bearing unusual pastries to incite delight; Rich Gottfried, who along with Dan Stein and Mel Wax always arrived early to services to ensure everything was ready to go and the Torah was rolled to the right spot; Rose Mallinger, wearing pastel colors and offering keen observations on mundane matters; Jerry Rabinowitz, who seemed to wear a smile all the time and ably spread it around; Cecil Rosenthal, “You’re in trouble now!”; David Rosenthal, “We could run away to England!”; Bernice Simon to Sylvan, “You could stop talking already”; Sylvan Simon, “We have to sing Ledor Vador the right way!”; Dan Stein, who always could produce a witty turn of phrase; Mel Wax, who often had a joke ready; Irv Younger - if you asked him how old each of these individuals was, he would say, “No matter, I’m still Younger.”

It is tough to remember small talk, at least for your humble reporter, because it really is not meant to be catalogued.  Regardless how evanescent, we will keep trying to recapture these breaths of life.

May their humor remain in our memories, and may their souls be bound in the bonds of life eternal.  And may they find laughter there as well.