For instance, to joke about committing suicide or something less extreme like eating non-kosher.

My inclination is towards saying that it is forbidden since it might desensitize one to the idea itself, even if only by a small amount. However, I have no sources on the matter, which is why I ask.

Edit: To clarify, I'm strictly talking about a spoken joke, not a practical one.


2 Answers 2


The Gemora Sanhedrin 102a says:

ויהוא לא שמר ללכת בתורת ה' אלהי ישראל בכל לבבו לא סר מעל חטאת ירבעם אשר החטיא את ישראל -
"And Yehu wasn't carefull to go in the way of Hashem with all his heart, He did not stay away from the sin of Yerovom that he had caused Israel to sin (i.e worship the 2 golden calves as a replacement of the Beis hamikdash)" (Melachim 2 10 30), מאי גרמא ליה אמר אביי ברית כרותה לשפתים שנאמר
What caused this sin? Says Abaye The covenant to the mouth. i.e not to say something bad about oneself as it says:.
(Melachim 2, 10, 18) וַיִּקְבֹּץ יֵהוּא, אֶת-כָּל-הָעָם, וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם, אַחְאָב עָבַד אֶת-הַבַּעַל מְעָט; יֵהוּא יַעַבְדֶנּוּ הַרְבֵּה.- And Yehu gathered all the people and said to them "Achav served the Baal idol a bit, Yehu will serve it a lot"

We see from here that one should not joke about himself sinning as the word of mouth can cause very powerful repricussions and actually lead to sinning.


Note: This answer was posted in response to an earlier version of the question.

One direct source is regarding Stealing that I found:

Stealing is forbidden even if one has no intention of keeping the item. For example, it is forbidden to temporarily take an item simply to cause the owner aggravation or to teach him a lesson not to keep his money or objects in unsafe places. Likewise one is not permitted to steal in order to play a joke on a friend.

(Shulchan Aruch Harav, Laws of Theft 3 end.)
My summary:

To steal for a joke: Some (halochik authorities) say it is a Biblical prohibition, while some (halochik authorities) say it is a Rabbinic prohibition.

Mishneh Torah» Sefer Nezikim » Genevah - Chapter One.
Halacha 2:

The Torah prohibits stealing even the slightest amount. It is forbidden to steal as a jest, to steal with the intent to return, or to steal with the intent to pay. All is forbidden, lest one habituate oneself to such conduct.

  • 3
    This is committing a transgression as a joke, not joking about committing a transgression.
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 3:06
  • @Yirmeyahu You might be right
    – hazoriz
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 3:09
  • 1
    But he did not specify oral jokes, he might have also included physical jokes
    – hazoriz
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 3:13
  • @hazoriz He explicitly excluded physical jokes in his edit, which, granted, was five hours after your answer.
    – DonielF
    Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 12:39

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