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Matisyahu Shaves Beard, Is No Longer Hasidic

Reggae star promises new ‘music of rebirth’

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Self-portrait, post-shave.(@Matisyahu)

The famously observant Matisyahu (born Matthew Paul Miller) has shaved his beard and declared, both modestly and immodestly, “No more Hasidic reggae superstar.” He continues:

Sorry folks, all you get is me … no alias. When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process. It was my choice. My journey to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality—not through books but through real life. At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity … to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth. I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules—lots of them—or else I would somehow fall apart. I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.

Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth. And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry…you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair.

Hopefully he did not have a Samsonite relationship to said hair.

Note From Matisyahu [Matisyahu]

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Marc –
How is his story different from many other Teshuva stories? Will his future be some balance between his frum life and something more mainstream? Unfortunately what he will have a hard time shaving off is how he, for a while, made the religious life itself more mainstream and accessible.

But on the creative side, he is wrong about finding creative license by dropping rules. It is exactly rules, that is creative limitations, that drives creativity within limits – as you have written about here before. He created something new by examining limits (what is Hassidic Reggae? Something of both of them together). I’m sure whatever he performs next will be interesting, but for me will be just a little too kitsch for me, to self-conscious.

Christopher Orev says:

Fascinating. I’m interested in seeing what he does next, but also a little sad, even if my own Judaism isn’t that of the ba’al teshuvah or Hassidim.

It’s a really disturbing photograph.

Rivka Shepard says:

About time, the Orthodox and Hasidim (modern day Pharisees) don’t speak for most Jews now any more than they did in ancient days.

I believe he has come to to true Torah, not man made rules. The Torah was meant to be simple and read to EVERYONE at regular intervals, not accompanied by man made ideas and stupidity. God is so simple, it takes man’s help to misunderstand Him.

Good comment Rivka-and they certainly don’t speak for woman.

Ellis Jayus says:

So what else is new? He sounds like the typical Jewish searcher…starting as an extreme “Phishead” moving all the way to the other side of extremism as a super observant Jew. Don’t lament his change…appears he has found his middle ground. Just enjoy his music!

@ben “But on the creative side, he is wrong about finding creative license by dropping rules.”
As someone who has been toiling in the fields of creativity for going on 50 years, I’m amazed to find that someone has attained the exalted level of certainty about such things to make a categorical statement like the one above. For years I have told my students that there are no “rules” only guidelines and principles and that whenever I articlulate something in that regard, there’s a good chance the opposite also true.

Kinda sad, considering he is a role model for modern frum youth. I wish he’d kept this mini-breakdown private. Oh well…

Can’t wait to see the little “soul patch”.


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Matisyahu Shaves Beard, Is No Longer Hasidic

Reggae star promises new ‘music of rebirth’

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