May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Interview With a Vampire

Gloria didn’t like the sight of blood—and that was an understatement. Just the thought of a paper cut could make Gloria dizzy, and the possibility of seeing blood would send her running in the opposite direction. When Gloria went for a checkup as a child, it took one doctor, three nurses, her father, her mother and two police officers to hold her down to get her finger pricked. Yes, Gloria was clearly hemophobic, even to the point that she would talk about the nine makot.

Although Gloria accepted her fear, she wasn’t happy about it. Aside from the embarrassing moments (like fainting in Rita’s when someone ordered a large cup of blood orange ices), Gloria didn’t like that she couldn’t understand her fear. Gloria was a thinking person and liked to make decisions based on what she thought made sense. Being afraid of a red liquid wasn’t exactly something she could understand. “Maybe,” thought Gloria, “if I can understand why I am afraid, I can fix the problem.”

The next day, Gloria went from expert to expert asking for opinions. She spoke to doctors, nurses, hospital workers, EMTs, psychologists, psychiatrists, physiologists and psychics. Gloria read articles and books, visited websites and listened to podcasts. However, after all that, nothing. Gloria still refused to drink fruit punch, put ketchup on her food or eat red jello. Gloria was frustrated but still had one last option for help. She didn’t love this option, but Gloria felt like she had no choice.

So, Gloria pulled together all of her courage and took a walk down her street, around the corner and into the park that sat against the dead end. She made an immediate right and entered the dark tunnel that led to the other side of the park. Halfway down, she stopped, turned to the wall and knocked. “Who iiiiiis iiiiiiit?” sang out a creepy-yet-friendly voice. “Please tell me you aren’t that kid looking to get his cereal box signed again. I told you, I am NOT Count Chocula!” Gloria swallowed and in her calmest possible voice responded, “My name is Gloria, and I just have a few questions about b-l-o-o-d.” The door swung open.

Standing in the torch-lit doorway was a very tall and very pale 350 year old man. He had sharp teeth, pointy ears and wore pajamas with pictures of bats on them. You got it—a real, honest-to-goodness vampire. And fortunately for Gloria, a retired one. Yes, Count Carlos of Cumberbatch Manor was no longer a practicing vampire, having given up on drinking blood and biting people years ago.

“You vant to talk blood?” asked the count, not expecting an answer. “Ve can talk about it, but I must tell you, I don’t know much about the latest trends. That’s part of why I stopped. Too much to figure out. First hemoglobin is good for you, then bad. Then there was the frog blood diet. That craze lasted a whole month—until the founders were caught swapping the frog blood with tomato juice.” The Count paused. “Vait, vere are my manners? Please come in and sit down. I just made a delicious pecan pie. Would you like a slice?”

Gloria cautiously sat down on one of the Count’s numerous armchairs, and after settling in, began to feel excited. She was about to have a conversation with an actual vampire! The Count must have sensed Gloria’s excitement as well. “Vat is it? Is pecan pie also your favorite?” Gloria giggled. “No,” she replied. “I just can’t believe I’m talking to a real live vampire.” Now it was Count Carlos’ turn to laugh. “Live? My dear, all vampires are actually dead. Vhy do you think ve need ‘b-l-o-o-d,’ as you called it? It keeps us moving without being alive. Even though I am retired, I still take my blood replacement vitamins every day.” The Count paused. “So, vat do you vant to know?” Gloria smiled. “I already got all I need, thanks. But before I go, I’m gonna finish this pie.”

In this week’s parsha, a big deal is made about the issur of consuming blood. The pesukim mention this a number of times, with an explanation: “Ki ha’dam hu hanefesh, because blood is the source of life.” Blood is the common factor throughout the body as it carries much needed oxygen to all of our limbs and organs. Therefore, bleeding is a little bit like a loss of life—that which keeps us alive is being lost. That could be enough to make anyone uncomfortable or dizzy.

By preventing us from consuming blood, Hashem is sending us an important message—respect life. When eating meat, we must remember that another being gave its life for our benefit. We show that respect by not taking any of that being’s blood into our own bodies.

So before you decide to squash a bug or complain about something silly, think about how important life is. If Hashem decided to give an ant life, who are we to simply take it? If life is so precious, we should be thankful and grateful for every moment.


Yair Daar is the director of Student Life at Bicultural Hebrew Academy High School. He can be reached at [email protected]

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