Photo Credit: Jewish Press

My Hebrew name is “Isaac,” and when I am called to the Torah for an aliyah the gabbai will sometimes correct it to “Yitzchak,” which is not my name. I correct them back. My Hebrew name is after a relative of mine who was named Isaac, so I am particular about it.

Whether “Yitzchak” or “Yitzchok,” the biblical explanation of the name from Sarah, in Genesis 21:6, that G-d has brought her laughter, and that everyone who hears will laugh with her, always brings a smile, if not laughter, to my lips. I think this is not referring to a child’s laughter, but the laughter of adults, the kind of astonished but happy triumph over disbelief when we see something that we thought was impossible come to real-life fruition, like an old or infertile couple having a newborn child.


Let us all be blessed in the future to laugh together with wonder at G-d’s miracles for us.


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Ira Stoll is media critic at the Algemeiner, columnist at the New York Sun, and editor of He lives in Boston.