"The Besht's Humor

"The Baal Shem Tov had a lively sense of humor, and occasionally spoke holy words in a light-hearted vein. But even his humorous comments contained mystical meanings of awesome profundity. Once, before teaching his disciples, the Besht made an especially good joke and everyone was laughing. After they recovered, the Besht said, 'We know that one of the Talmudic sages always opened a study session with a joke or humorous remark. I'll tell you why. The divine vitality that gives a person life and awareness is always fluctuating between expanded and constricted consciousness. Humor takes you from a state of constricted consciousness into a more expanded state of mind, so that you can learn Torah deeply and cleave to God, blessed be He.' "