The God Squad: Spiritually acceptable holiday gifts

Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

(Note from MG):

Thanks to all of you, dear readers, who laughed out loud at my recent column featuring a selection of funny church bulletins with typos. I do so much deep theology and disaster counseling that I needed to lighten things up a bit. For those of you who want more of my deep-diving into the imposed agonies of life, stay tuned but always remember that I believe in the depths of my soul that our blessings always exceed our burdens.

My friend, Doctor B, in response to the typo column, wrote this scientific addendum about the medical value of laughter:

Studies done revealed that cancer patients who laughed for no apparent reasons several times a day had a better survival rate than those who only laughed if something funny occurred. Actors who had their blood drawn while acting in a comedy found that their immune function improved and stress hormone levels went down.

Those who had their blood drawn while acting in a tragedy found that the opposite happened. Monday morning we have a larger number of every kind of illness and heart attacks, etc., due to how people are feeling on Monday. If you want to live a longer, healthier life, growing up feeling loved makes a dramatic difference versus the illness rate of those who didn't grow up with love by a ratio of 98 percent to 24 percent, so love your children and give them a sense of humor. Last, but not least, when you have decisions to make, let your heart make up your mind. Do what makes you happy and don't wait for a disaster to give you permission.

And a thank you to W, from New Haven, who included a beautiful and appropriate biblical citation that makes my goofy column seem a little less goofy. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)


OK, I just can’t get out of my fixation on laughter, so let me close with the best joke I have heard this year that is neither spiritual nor rooted in Proverbs nor derived from a church bulletin.

“Some cannibals were eating a clown and one turned to the other and said, ‘Does something taste funny to you?’”

Stay funny during this bleak winter. Spring and the hope for healing is not far off.

(Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including “Religion for Dummies,” co-written with Fr. Tom Hartman.)

©2020 The God Squad. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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