By COLlive reporter
Gitty Stolik, a Crown Heights-based writer on Jewish thought and lore, says her new book about laughter was inspired by an insight from the Rebbe she was not familiar with.
“The thing that was not yet done to bring Moshiach is the proper avoda (service) of simcha, joy,” the Rebbe said in 5748. “Not (only) those things that lead to simcha but the simcha itself, and the simcha will bring Moshiach. The way to bring Moshiach is… through increasing pure joy.”
A more recent epiphany sparked Stolik, editor of Our Vogue, a publication on the values of modesty for women and girls, to write this book now, over 25 years later.
An acquaintance was giving her an enthusiastic report about a Lubavitcher teacher in a modern Orthodox Jewish school who uses humor so ingeniously that his life lessons are indelibly etched into his student’s psyches.
Stolik says she never thought of humor and laughter as having ‘holy power.’ “Humor and laughter would make joy much more doable,” she says. “What a remarkable discovery — sustainable joy! This was a message worth sharing. And so the book was born.”
Titled “It’s Okay to Laugh… Seriously,” the book argues that humor and laughter are kosher, even holy aspects of Judaism. It offers useful tips and tools to do so with empowering stories, real-life anecdotes, thought-provoking quotes and laugh-lines.
The 245-page book published by Mosaica Press and distributed by Feldheim Publishers, the book is said to be a fun read, with lots of humor. “It will give its readers plenty of reasons to keep them laughing after they close it,” Stolik says.
“Our joy and laughter will not only improve our daily lives, but will fulfill a grander objective,” she says. “Our humor will not only redeem us from those tight spots, it will help us break out of galus. Imagine — a foretaste of the future and a forward jump into it through the Divine world of humor, laughter and joy.”
Stolik acknowledges that it’s easier to laugh when things are good. But it’s even more important to laugh when it comes harder. She point out that the Rebbe’s message about “pure joy” came some 6 months after his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson passed away.
The book has been receiving acclaim from all who reviewed it.
Yitta Halberstam, co-author of the Small Miracles series, says “The book is a witty, refreshing and highly appealing case for more humor in our day-to-day existence.”
Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, a prominent psychiatrist and author of over 60 books, commented that the book “provides us with the means to overcome the hurdles [of life] and …make our lives productive and even enjoyable.”
Stolik says the involvement with her writing project has deepened her own capacity for joy. “I am learning to see the redeemable spark in every moment,” she said. “Joy and positivity are success boosters for my work with my students, counseling, speaking and most important – for her everyday life.”
The book is available in Jewish bookstores and on Amazon.com.