Matisyahu Shaves Beard, Changes His Act

For those of you who haven’t heard—and it’s a doozy—boys and girls: A man shaved his beard, yesterday!
It kind of reminds me of that whole, “if a tree falls in the middle of forest…” saying.
Yes, it’s true. The Artist Formerly Known as the Chassidic reggae superstar is no more.
Instead, all we’re left with is, well, Matisyahu.
Here is his written statement:

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

So, there it is. No more Mr. Bearded Jewish Rapper Man.
I can relate to this, on many levels; the least of which that I’ve gone through various “phases” of religiosity. As The Dude says, in “The Big Lebowski,” there are a lotta ins, a lotta outs.
But it’s more than that. I used to set traps for myself, rules, that if broken, would cause me to fall apart…just like that. Like, if I didn’t go to shul, one week, I was a bad person. Obviously, that’s not the case—or, at least, I don’t think it is. Yet, I would beat myself up about it–and I can be very hard on myself.
I will say, however, that over a year ago, I had a very spiritual awakening, causing me to connect with a Higher Power, a Power Greater Than Myself. My life had become a runaway train, and I had managed to shatter my relationships with my friends and family; and, without getting into much detail (though, for those of you who know me, or who are like me, I guess, by now, you probably know what I’m referring to), I needed help.
And help I received.
And love.
And support.
Over time, with all of the above, and my constant connection to a Higher Power I choose to call God, I managed to clean my mess, and get my life back together.
There is not a day that goes by that I’m not absolutely, positively grateful for. I’ve seen how bad things can get, for people like me. There are no happy endings for them. I’ve lost more friends than I care to count.
So, yeah, I’m a lucky—nay, blessed—guy.
Matisyahu may not be the religious, “Chassidic reggae superstar,” that he once was, but from everything I read in his heartfelt statement, one thing is certain: he hasn’t lost his spiritual compass.
He’s just going through a change in his life. It’s apparent that he’s had a moment of clarity, and he’s running with it.
As long as he continues on this path of “goodness,” on his “divine mission,” I think Matisyahu will be just as amazing as he always has been.
I mean, he’s a talented, charismatic guy, this Matisyahu fellow is.
Now, he’s just a talented, charismatic guy without facial hair.
That, too, I can relate to.
But that’s a different story for a different day.