Video: Matisyahu Discusses His Sudden Beard-Shaving Controversy


matisyahu-no-beard1[Video below.] Jewish rapper Matisyahu rose to fame with his 2004 hit, “King Without a Crown.” But on Tuesday, he created a tumult by releasing a beardless photo of himself and this statement on his website: “No more Chassidic reggae superstar.”

Once known for his long beard – and his musical talent, of course – Matisyahu tweeted a picture of his clean-shorn mug to fans on Tuesday along with the phrase, “At the break of day I look for you at sunrise When the tide comes in I lose my disguise.”

He explained in a related blog post on his website, “No more Chassidic reggae superstar. Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias.”

He goes on to talk about his religious journey, his need to submit himself to the strict rules in order to become a good person, and finally his need to reclaim his own identity. Hence, the clean face.

He concludes, “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.”

To clarify that he’s not turning his back on the Jewish faith, he followed up with the tweet: “For all of those who are being awesome, you are awesome. For all those who are confused: today I went to the Mikva and Shul just like yesterday.”

Before his eight-night run of Chanukah concerts kicks off next week, Matisyahu stopped by WNYC to talk about his new look.

Click below to watch:

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{Noam Newscenter}


  1. He will be OK.
    Everybody knows the Beard is a level to be attained.

    I wish him Hatlzacha and he should be Zoche one day to a Beard he feels he deserves.

  2. #1 Eli,

    he didn’t say the Zohar is ludicris. He said this idea of the beard is. And yes, misrepresenting the Zohar dosn’t put those words into his mouth. Please don’t be a dope.

  3. As level headed as he shows himself, he seems confused. I get eli’s comment above… I’m not sure how Matis can call the teachings of the Zohar ludacris… that in and of itself makes me wonder where his head is.

    I was a fan of his first CD… not so much of the others. Not sure I’ll purchase any more of his music.

    Matis; you can’t burn the candle at both ends. You influence our kinderlach, you need to stick to your kind. Cowtowing to the goyishe crowd isn’t becoming.

  4. it only takes about a few min of clicking around to see what he is
    his music should never have been accepted into the jewish music world

  5. His mistake was not to speak to anyone about it before he did it. Just because he doesn’t understand something, that means it’s ludicrous? Will he take it to new heights? What’s next? If he doesn’t understand how putting on tefilin arouses Hashem’s mercy that means he should stop doing it? Chazal stay the yetzer hara first tempts you with little, inconsequential things, then with bigger things that really matter. And it says in Mishe: “V’al binascha al tisha’en!” Do not rely on your own wisdom.

  6. It might seem that the beard was a gimmick rather than truth? I can not be one to discriminate of course, but I am not keen on his music and I did like Reggae of Bob Marley alot. So maybe he was a false specific to Torah life. I did not gravitate in his direction and perhaps he is not gravitating in Torahs direction.

  7. Here’s a relevant quote from the frumteens moderator:

    “how can hair on someone’s face make someone more spiritual?”

    MODERATOR Posted – 24 October 2001 19:53
    “If you mean the type of spiritual that you can feel high with, it indeed cannot. But the Torah’s definition of spiritual is not something we can feel, nor understand, especially when it comes to these kind of kabbalistic things. The doctors will tell you that certiona chemicals are good for your body and certian are harmful. It’s all due to the way your body was made. So too your soul was made in such a way that certain things strengthen it and certain weaken it. I can tell you what the Seforim say about how the face of a person has a special quality in that is reflects what is in his soul, and as such is subject to special Kabbalistic details – but unless we’re on the level to understand this stuff we shouldnt bother trying. Lets leave it like when a doctor says Resisi Mushrooms are healthy. We’re like oooookay, but I guess you know these things.”

  8. He’s not confused. He is still a practicing Jew without a beard. As long as he cut his beard with scissors or shaved with a shaver that does not cut like scissors, it is halachically acceptable. He is definitely making a statement, but honestly, only HaShem can judge him for this. I believe he is right. HaShem is merciful and Matisyahu is deserving of the mercy of all observant Jews and mentsches. Let’s keep this in perspective! Keep supporting Matisyahu! He is bringing Torah to the world. Who knows how many have and will come to Torah through his work.

  9. i wish matisyahu success in whatever he is doing. only hashem knows the real story.
    but he doeshave an achrayus as he has people watching him

  10. He didn’t necessarily mean to say against the Zohar, he just seems to have been thinking that it can’t be that all rachamim, shefa is dependent on the beard. Hashem has rachmonus on people without beards too.

    It could be that having a beard helps to get more rachamim and shefa, but it should be a ???? ??? ? ???, ??? ? ???? ?? ? ??? – a beard with a Jew attached to it, not a beard without a Jew (like the famous mayseh with Satmar Rebbe R. Yoel and Mike Tress – though it may have been said with others as well).

    In general, people have to realize that first one has to learn regular Torah, poshut pshat and then, if they are on the level, they can explore Kabbalah. If one learns Kabbalah before and over nigloh, one can get mixed up and that seems to be what happened here.

    There are reasons in nigloh to have a beard. He doesn’t mention them at all. So you see that he is too focused on Kabbalah, at the expense of regular Torah, aka nigloh. Maybe that is related to who was mekarev him.

  11. Matis is a mensch and a real Kiddush Hashem of our generation.

    He will be fine. He has many zechusim.

    He has turned many secular Jews on to Yiddishkeit and we should all daven that he continues to grow in his own Yiddishkeit.

    We should all be trying to grow and develop.

  12. Could someone please explain to me his video “miracle”..I don’t get it. Please someone watch the video and explain to me what this is all about.
    I’m so curious to understand all this. What is it, this, or that??
    Please someone explain?

  13. #27…you may be right…
    When I looked at it(I’m a woman) I went on his site to see what I can learn about him because there was such a backlash and he said in his interview yesterday that he appreciates a commenter that gave him chizik, sort of. That the world was full of haters and he seemed quite humble albeit confused in his interview. So I happened in on the video wanting to see what it was about title “miracle, about chanukah. I was surprised at what I saw and thought maybe someone had seen it already(old video) and could explain what that was all about. Sorry.

  14. This is the biggest to-do about a haircut since John and Yoko got matching crew cuts. That was in early 1970 when they were in Denmark.

  15. You can’t judge him from your own Chassidishe perspective where a beard is a given. Baalei teshuva have to follow their own pace. Sometimes people take upon a bit too much and then have to take a step back before going further; he may not feel the beard is “himself” at this point. His music might be kiruv for frei people or to teach the umos haolam about Hashem, but it is not appropriate for frum people.

  16. He has no need for ???? ????? because he was growing a beard for non halachic reasons and not because it was a ????. The best thing he can do is learn that ???? is what governs what you have to do. Spiritual reasons are the icing on the cake and may explain many things and may also determine a direction when there is a ?????? but at the end of the day, as long as he has a Rav who guides him about what is and is not permitted, and he follows ???? as well as he can, there is no need for anyone to look into his innards and be judgemental.