The Talmud in Sotah 42 says four groups do not receive the Shechina (divine presence) in the next world. One of these is the group of "letzim" (jesters).

What is considered bad letzanut? I assume some form of joking is permitted and emotionally beneficial to humans. Where does one draw the line in this?

  • there might be a difference between leitzim and baduchim from Taanit 22a (18 thick lines down). The latter are praiseworthy. The issue seems to be one of translation.
    – rosends
    Sep 29, 2016 at 10:54
  • @Danno you mean letzanut does not mean jokingas one of its meanings?
    – ray
    Sep 29, 2016 at 10:59
  • I mean that the conclusion you draw in general might only apply to a particular subset as called forth by "leitzan" -- badchan, also sometimes translated as "jester" is ben olam haba.
    – rosends
    Sep 29, 2016 at 11:05
  • 2
    Latzans are those who scoff at holy things. Imagine an inspiring chazan on yom kippur. He sings some very spiritual cantorial stuff but when he bends down in alenu, a Latzan males a fart sound. The chazzan's bending is ridiculed and the holy singing contrasting to the undignified flatulence adds to the comedy but becomes a joke to the congregants and loses its spiritual punch. Sep 29, 2016 at 11:52
  • 1
    @Clint Eastwood - "undignified flatulence"? Any examples of "dignified flatulence" ..um.. floating around?
    – Gary
    Oct 2, 2016 at 3:24

1 Answer 1


The Pele yoets seems to expain what the bad one is

The definition of mockery is that a person mocks his friend in order to increase laughter and levity

  • interesting.+1 but he brings the mishna which says "two who sit together and dont say divrei torah is a moshav letzim". how is that mockery to increase laughter?
    – ray
    Sep 29, 2016 at 20:42
  • @ray thank you, I did not understand your question
    – hazoriz
    Sep 29, 2016 at 20:43
  • the pele yoets above brings the mishna in pirkei avot: "two who sit together and don't say divrei torah - this is a moshav letzim". I assume he means something other than mockery to increase laughter right?
    – ray
    Sep 29, 2016 at 20:49
  • @ray I saw it differently, I saw it that eather usually when 2 board people are eating together, the conversion will lead to mockery. Or that the meal itself is mocking (maybe Hashem) if there is no Torah. I do not see anything about laughter
    – hazoriz
    Sep 29, 2016 at 20:53
  • Any thoughts on the comparison/contrast with the definition of leitzanus discussed here: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/678/899 ?
    – Yirmeyahu
    Sep 30, 2016 at 1:51

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