Read in a book by Rabbi Moshe Shapiro zt'l (Shiurei Rabeinu sec.Purim) that only two truly laugh, human beings and G-d (Tehilim 2:4). If this is true, why is laughter unique to human beings of all creations?

does it stem from the higher intellect of man which does not exist in animals? why does laughter not exist by malachim? please source.

(I assume the noises made by animals which sound like laughter are just mindless animal noises and not truly laughter)

  • @DoubleAA looking for jewish sources. not atheists. but there says "Several non-human species demonstrate vocalizations that sound similar to human laughter" - i.e. just tickle sounds. not laughter. parrots also make talking sounds. but that's not speech – ray Jun 15 '18 at 12:51
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    @ray do you have a Torah source that animals don't laugh? – mroll Jun 15 '18 at 19:06
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    @Aaron perhaps the confusion here is what Rabbi Shapiro means by laughter. – ray Jun 18 '18 at 10:15
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    The Maharal in Beer HaGoleh brings a version of the gemarra in Bava Kama 60b which says dogs laugh (our version says dogs play, but he's quoting the Ein Yaakov version). Rav Shapiro knew all of Maharal, so I'm assuming like you wrote, that it's not called laughter the same way humans laugh. Similar to how a parrots speech isn't like human speech. – robev Jul 1 '18 at 4:11

Rabbi Moshe Shapiro was in error. We now have scientific evidence that other primates laugh in the same way that humans do. However, Rabbi Shapiro should not be held accountable for his error since this evidence was only recently confirmed and has yet to penetrate the general knowledge base outside the scientific community. And as right now, only a few species of primates have been confirmed to laugh like humans do. Other animals often make a laughing sound but we haven't been able to prove that this sound functions the same way as our laughter, despite sounding similar.

Source: BBC Via Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhlHx5ivGGk

Note: We can only characterize laughter as either a sound, or a function. If it's a sound, then lot's of animals laugh. If it's a function, then many animals can be said to laugh with other modes of body language. If it's a mix of a specific sound related to human laughter, and the function of human laughter, then only certain primates can be said to laugh.

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