Remember how last week I disagreed with Jay Michaelsen for thinking that the i-Pod generation needs a new type of Judaism? Well, this heightened my awareness of i-Pods, with the following results:
One recent morning I took the elevator down with an elderly neighbor, who was born and reared in Slovakia, which means she's either a Holocaust survivor or she got here even earlier, and either way she must be closer to 80 than to 70. But she wasn't very talkative, because she was so engrossed in whatever her i-Pod was telling her that she hardly noticed my presence.
Yesterday I again shared the elevator with an i-Podist, this time a man of about 60, who was about to go jogging, or walking, or whatever. He at least did notice my presence, so I asked him what music he listens to, or if perhaps it's some rabbi. "I listen to the talks of the Rav Avraham Josef, Rabbi of Holon and son of the Rav Ovadia [the most important Sephardi rabbi of our generation]. I recently learned from him that if you put cold soup on a cold electric heater on the sabbath and then a pre-set timer turns on the heater, the warming of the soup is considered unintended, and it's kosher to eat it - and this goes for everyone, including Ashkenazim". A fine trick, if you're into such things.
When we got down to street level he turned right, and I turned left. Half a block down I passed a young woman cradling a live rooster on a piece of cardboard in her arms... but that's another story, with no i-Pods.