by Reb Aharon Rubin, from Eye to the Infinite, shared with permission.
Prayer and Laughter
The name, Isaac, is also important. Both Abraham and Jacob prayed regularly. Yet Scriptures singles out Isaac. It would appear that he embodied the qualities and disposition needed for meditation and prayer, and they are hinted at in his name.
Isaac – in Hebrew, יצחק Yitschok – means, “he laughed”, a derivative of צחק tsochaq, meaning, to laugh and, a similar word, שחק sochaq, to rejoice. Whereas laughter and rejoicing are both expressions of joy, laughter is a more spontaneous, concentrated form of joy. Scriptures tells us that there is strength and joy in G-d’s Place. This combination of strength and joy is ‘laughter’, the secret of Yitschok. 
צחוק tsechoq – joy and laughter is born through the discovery of light within the darkness, symptomatic of the delight of the meditative experience. Thus, צחוק tsechoq relates to שחק Sochaq, which relates to שוח Suach, the verb used here for meditation, which in turn relates to שיחה sichoh, speech, verbal meditation or prayer.
(Interestingly, combining ישחק sochaq (rejoice) with לשוח losuach (to meditate – see Genesis, 24:63), we obtain קולי שח qoly soch, “my voice speaks” or קולי חש qoly chash, “my voice is silent”, two pertinent phrases describing the main methods of prayer meditation – the audible and the silent. This is particularly significant when we realise that in the afore-mentioned verse, Yitschok had just returned from Gan Eden, which is guarded by the Chashmal ‘revolving sword’ – the ‘speaking-silence’ (see Part 2, Chapter 1, Locks and Keys). Through the double-edged sword of prayer, loud prayer to counteract the ‘inner chatter’ and silent prayer to go within the ‘silence’, we can penetrate the miasma of silent chatter within the mind and enter Gan Eden.)
Prayer verbalises deep emotion. The release of focused feeling is then similar to laughter, intense and relaxing due to the transcendental union of the soul with the Infinite One as the person escapes his ego. Prayer, the inner soul of laughter, discovers eternity within the constriction of time. It penetrates, defines and expands the ephemeral, elusive present. It is the paradox of Yitschok, Sarah’s only child born to her in her old age: immortality within mortality, the sweetness in the bitter, the infinite within the finite.
 See Brochoth 26b.
 See ibid. 7b regarding the significance of a person’s name.
 I Chronicles, 16:27 – עז וחדוה במקומו – “Strength and joy are in His Place”. (Interestingly, chedvoh (joy) and moqom (place) is gematriah, “Yitschok”.)
 The letters צ and ש are interchangeable. See also Psalms 110:7.
 Chagigoh 5b.
 This is connected with the phenomenon of resonance discussed in Part 1. See also Brochoth 31a: “One should not get up to pray from [a mood of] sadness, lethargy, mirth, converse, light-headedness or worthless activities but from the joy of a Mitsvoh”. Cf. Pesochim 117a: “The Shechinoh does not rest [upon a person] from [a mood of] lethargy, sadness, mirth, converse, light-headedness or worthless activities but from the joy of a Mitsvoh, as it says ‘And now bring me a musician, and it was when the musician played that the Hand of G-d came upon him’ (I Kings, 3)”.
 See Targum Yerushalmi, Gen. 24:63.