Kathie Lee Gifford was back to her chair next to Hoda Kotb this morning, January 15, and it was just like old times on the “Today” fourth hour, in more ways than one. Kathie Lee Gifford gushed with all kinds of news, especially about her quiet trip to Israel last week that no one knew about in advance. Hoda had more happy baby reports about Haley Joy, who shared some and dancing fun with mom before rooting for the family favorite team, the New Orleans Saints, in their divisional playoff game.

Fans know that Kathie Lee is always “chatty” after a break, and the best friends had lots of catching up to do after their brief and busy time apart.

What took Kathie Lee by complete surprise was a backlash of unfriendly feedback in her Twitter messages, assuming that she had left in a dither after the news that Hoda was named as host of “Today's” core two hours. Kathie Lee Gifford made it clear to the world this morning that nothing could be further from the truth, and she lavished the love on her “Hoda woman” in her well-earned promotion, shared some good-natured belly laughs, and the real meaning behind her latest journey to the holy land.

Best friends forever

Kathie Lee Gifford made the extra special effort to fly across the country to be there for Hoda Kotb’s big day on January 2. She explained that the time that she would be gone for a few weeks, in the moment describing her work on the follow-up to her musical, “Under the Bridge.” What she did not announce was a trip to Israel, planned well in advance, to shoot footage and conversations with Rabbi Jason Sobel as an accompaniment to her book, “The Rock, The Road, and the Rabbi.” The book releases on March 6, as does Hoda Kotb’s children's book, “I've Loved You Since Forever,” celebrating not only the life-changing completion of her family with Haley Joy but adoption in all aspects.

“Forever” is also the word for the friendship between the two hosts. “Stop it, people!” came Kathie Lee’s exclamation after reading all the stream of false gossip describing a feud and rivalry between the longtime friends. “I'm thrilled for Hoda—just thrilled,” she reiterated. Gifford was in utter disbelief of the comments she read upon returning from her trip.

She mocked, “Yes, Hoda, I'm proud of you, and now, I'm going to have a hissy fit and go off to Israel and shoot video!” She simply ended with, “I love you,” along with “Lord, have mercy!” There was no need for the descending tissue box because both Hoda and she were in uncontrolled laughter.

A record intact

Kathie was quite proud that her record of not missing work in 20 years of the morning show that mixes wine with girlfriend gossip is still intact.

Temperatures in Israel were frigid, and she was held to extra days in Israel before being allowed to fly. Rabbi Sobel wasn’t the only one who ministered love and care to Kathie Lee Gifford. A wise and dutiful Jewish physician made “room calls” to her hotel to head off the development of full-blown pneumonia, adding a tender touch of comfort with a hug and word of “You don't feel good, do you?” That kind of treatment makes one wonder if he also brought along matzo ball soup.

Gifford was cleared as “a very good patient” just a few days later, but her problems weren’t over. A slip on some black ice on her property was hard on the places where the sun doesn't shine, but Kathie Lee can still laugh about it, thanks to her faith, a good dose of humor, and smiles from her sidekick, Hoda. Bad news may always travel faster than good news, but good news lasts longer.