Rav Beroka, a Talmudic sage, was surveying the scene in a marketplace together with the prophet Elijah. He asked the prophet, “Who in this marketplace is deserving of olam haba [the world to come]?”

Elijah pointed out two individuals who seemed quite ordinary to Rav Beroka. Curious to hear what they did to earn this remarkable reward, he questioned them. “We are comedians,” they told him. They related that in addition to entertaining people with their jokes, they would cheer up people who had quarreled. When the parties were happier, it was easier to make peace among them.1

This story piques the imagination. Elijah and Rav Beroka were not contemporaries; rather, Rav Beroka merited the revelation of Elijah the prophet. I would think Rab Beroka would have utilized every moment with Elijah to help solve unanswered Torah mysteries and riddles, or burning contemporary issues.

Yet he took the time to “survey the market,” like the marketing analysts of today. What are the “going” items? What commodity will be found noteworthy and of value?

Comedy turned out to be a winner. Their humor and laughter vouchsafed the two comedians a coveted assurance of immediate entry into the world to come. Humor and laughter are elevated and holy—when used with the right intentions. Joyous Jewish living is indeed a burning contemporary issue.

Let’s give a shout-out to the joy producers of today. They may not have training, titles, or framed certificates adorning their office walls. They may not use sophisticated strategies or psychological theories. But they bring joy to people, and that is a most important mitzvah!

And it is not just the professional comedians. We all have the capacity—and responsibility—to buy into the joy commodities market and bring joy to others.

G‑d responds to our initiative; when we’re joyous, it elicits His joy. So the more, the merrier. The more joy produced, the faster we leap into a state of permanent joy, the coming of Moshiach.