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Dec 14, 2011

Matisyahu Shaves Beard... And In other News....

As they say, no publicity is bad publicity.

Matisyahu announced yesterday on Twitter that he is no longer going to be Hassidic and he has shaved off his beard. His statement said:
This morning I posted a photo of myself on Twitter.

No more Chassidic reggae superstar.

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.

- Matisyahu
Matisyahu's statement says nothing about whether or not he will continue to be religious, yet a number of sites, along with many people talking about him, automatically assumed based on the picture and the fact that he shaved his beard and long payos, that he is no longer frum.

Basically, who cares?

Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with reactions and analyses by fans and haters. In my opinion all the chatter is pointless, and the entire announcement and ensuing discussion is nothing more than the same type of celebrity gossip we see about any other rock star, baseball star, performer or even politicians. His decision is personal, and probably also an attempt at publicity of one sort or another, and should not influence anybody or matter to anybody in any way other than general entertainment. When the papers write about this, and some already have, it should be a note in the gossip column, right beside who Bar Rafaeli was spotted having coffee with in Venice or Hawaii or Hod Hasharon...

And as they say, no publicity is bad publicity. His statement generated a lot of buzz and chatter about him. All that free publicity, no matter how bad some might consider it, is good.


  1. Let me be devil's advocate.

    This item is more interesting than who Bat Refaeli drinks coffee with because the inner world of an artist affects his work, which may be meaningful to people who hold his work in esteem.

  2. I would expect his biggest fans to pay attention to, and to point out, every little thing he does and changes. Thats what people do when they idolize somebody, whether it is Billy Joel, Princess Di, Derek Jeter, Bar Rafaeli, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Sandler, Lebron James, Michael Jordan or Fernando Valenzuela.
    His statement generated far more than that. Many were analyzing whether that simple statement of him shaving his beard is indicative of whether he is going to continue being frum or not, what he is less spiritual without a beard, etc.

    I just say relegate it to the gossip column. Let his biggest fans talk about his little changes. I dont care if he shaves his beard or not. I say don't make it into a bigger deal than it is.

  3. And that is what I am saying you have wrong. Idolization of a cool / beautiful / whatever public figure is different from an artist. His art is potentially affected by whether he is "frum" or not or any other parameter that reflects his inner world. Therefore shaving his beard is of material consequence to his art, whereas whether Leonardo DiCaprio (or for that matter Bar Rafaeli) grows or shaves a beard makes no material difference to the world at all apart from its gossip value.

  4. I sort of do care, though. For my non-frum relatives and friends who saw him as inspiring and made them proud to be Jewish, for one.

    I not assuming he in not religious anymore, that he shaved that all off with the beard. I am not assuming or reading into anything. I am just hoping that for the sake of his fan-base, he remains strong in his faith.

  5. you really think this was for publicity?!
    you gotta be kidding!!

  6. it might not have been the original intention, but at the end of the day it has generated massive publicity for him

  7. First of all, I think what they say is, "there's no such thing as bad publicity."

    I'm not sure that the speculation of his becoming non-frum is from the picture. If you read what he wrote, all of the reasons he gives of why he is (was?) religious are in psat tense. After he gives the reasons for being religious, he says that he is "reclaiming" himself.

  8. he later tweeted that "to all confused: I still went to mikvah and davened today." so no, it seems like he's not OTD.

  9. yoni - he talks about being hassidic in the past, not being religious.

  10. Tovlei Shacharit were Minim.

  11. Snag, LOL. Someone gotta tell him only chassidim tovel every day...

  12. http://middleofthepackrabbi.blogspot.com/2011/12/matisyahu-kierkergaard-and-me.html


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