Why Robin Williams Has a Place in the World to Come

In his unique ability to cheer up those who were sad, and thereby allow others to live again, this great comedian incarnated an important Talmudic story.

A week has passed since Robin Williams took his own life and he remains at the forefront of my thoughts. Upon reflecting on the comedian’s tragic death, my colleague at Temple Beth Sholom, Rabbi Steven Lindemann, reminded me of a story from the Talmud (Ta’anit 22a) about comedians. The story claims that Elijah the Prophet would frequently appear to Rabbi Beroka in the marketplace. On one of these visits, Rabbi...