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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Why we love zombies

Daf Yomi Yevamos 74

Over the last number of years, there has been a surge in the popularity of zombie movies.   Scriptwriters have moved on from the model of zombie-as-foe to try to imagine how we might coexist with zombies.  After all, in the twenty-first century, can’t we all get past our differences and learn to just get along peacefully with one another?  Recently, a respectable political science publication even tackled the question of how we should react to a zombie attack!

Why indeed has there been a flurry of zombie activity and interest? 

When one would offer the tithes, the Torah states that one must declare, “I have not eaten it in mourning; I did not consume it impurely; and I did not give it to the dead.”

Reish Lakish quotes Rabbi Sammy: How do we know that one may use the second tithe that became contaminated for anointment?  The verse states, “I did not give it to the dead,” which means that the Torah is referring to something that could have been used for the dead but was used instead for the living.  What is such a thing?  You must say this refers to anointment

The technological advances of the twenty-first century are incredible and we have much to be grateful for.  Nevertheless, they have not come without their social challenges.  More and more people today are getting bogged down by the information age overload.   Instead of technology simplifying our lives and allowing us greater freedom to enjoy family and life outdoors, too many people are become zombified by TV, movies, video games and the internet. 

Let’s be clear: It’s not information overload; it’s information age overload.  Most of the time, people just do or watch the same thing over and over again on TV or the internet, not seeking any new information!  Ever noticed how many real news items happen each day?  Maybe one a day, if you’re lucky.  But news channels will discuss the issue over and over and over until you’ve become zombified watching. 

You end up staying up half the night watching for potential new developments or angles.  Until you finally crawl into bed, feeling overloaded by technology when in fact you haven’t really absorbed very much new information at all!  Indeed, not much different to your teenager who’s been up all night playing mindless video games.  And so the next day, everyone’s walking around like a zombie and it’s no wonder we’re fascinated by them and wonder if they might live amongst us!

It’s time to wake up and take hold of your life!  The Almighty has anointed you for his service.  But the Talmud teaches us that in order to be anointed, you have to be alive!  Living doesn’t just mean existing.  It means giving it your all!
If you are reading this Life Yomi, you have been anointed!  As you sit here learning, the vast majority of those around you are wasting away their lives and drifting through life half-zombified.   But you’re not one of them.  Yes, you must learn to coexist with the zombies, just make sure you don’t get bitten.  The Almighty has anointed you to be alive and give it your all!

Be excited and alive about life and your spiritual service.  You will merit being an inspiration to all the zombies around to wake them from their slumber so that they too may become anointed in the service of G-d and serve Him with joy and vigor!  

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