Is Matisyahu Leaving Judaism For Good?

Rapper Matisyahu just got rid of his most recognizable feature: His long, long beard!

Matisyahu shaves his beard

Hasidic rapper Matisyahu revealed quite the surprise to his fans on Tuesday morning: He shaved his trademark beard and hair!

"Sorry folks, all you get is me… no alias," the rapper wrote on his website. He also tweeted a photo of his naked face and shaved head.

"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."

Matisyahu — born Matthew Paul Miller — took on Orthodox Judaism after he went on a study trip to Israel as a teen. He later grew out his hair and beard and pursued a career in music. The beard — along with his reggae rap style — caught the attention of music fans when he released songs like "King Without a Crown."

Now he doesn't need the strict practices of Orthodox Judaism.

"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," he added. "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."

Fans — especially those who shared his religious beliefs — are worried he's renouncing his Jewish faith entirely. Luckily, he's not.

"For all of those who are being awesome, you are awesome. For all those who are confused: Today I went to the Mikvah and Shul just like yesterday," he tweeted.

Photo credit: WENN

What do you think: Is Matisyahu abandoning his Jewish faith?

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Comments

Comments on "Matisyahu's surprise: He shaved his beard"

Dinah December 24, 2011 | 12:38 PM

Good for him, if it allows him to feel some more spiritual elbow room. Beards may grow if you don't cut them, but the spirit grows in very different ways. It's often transcendent to realize that something "necessary" is, in fact, expendable. Sometimes the thing which was "necessary" is, in fact, a prison, an obstacle to being present. When we were fleeing Egypt, some of us were afraid, and wanted to go back to the the safety of the known world, which was enslavement. But it took courage to "leave Egypt" for the unknown. I am sure that God loved Matisyahu when he was Matthew, and when he was hairless. God loves him still. And so, why shouldn't we appreciate Matisyahu's willingness to "leave Egypt" in this way? There is no generic GPS system for finding one's own unique spiritual path.

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