The thunderous rumbles of the subway are much louder than the steady hum of the LIRR. This is why it is somewhat difficult to listen to an ipod while on the subway. But today I stuck the little green buds of my earphones into my ears and put my ipod on shuffle, figuring I would give it a try.
As V'havienu's Hamalach Hagoel swam around my ears, creating a soundtrack in my head, the sudden sharp rhythms of rap beat themselves against my otherwise peaceful listening experience. I glanced in the direction of the sounds and saw that a rather gangster-looking rapper was sitting a few feet away from me. He, too, was listening to an ipod, but he was shouting the lyrics of whatever song was playing for the entire subway car to hear.
Across from him sat a little blond girl. She looked about three years old and she watched the rapper curiously, nodding her head along whenever he bobbed his to the beat.
Suddenly, I heard, "Stand up, Israel!" Pause. "Stand up, Israel!"
I paused my song and listened. That's when I first could tell that the rapper was not speaking coherently. Either he was incredibly drunk or there was something seriously off about him - or both. But for an instant, he spoke clearly. "Who are we? Israelites!" Then he went back to his slurring.
All the time, the little girl nodded her head to the beat as her mother napped beside her. I turned Hamalach Hagoel back on and the subway chugged onward, the strange ensemble playing in my ears for the rest of the ride.