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The Real Reason Matisyahu Cut His Beard

December 15, 2011 8:23 am 32 comments


  • Maby his wife wanted a new shaitel, he donated it to the shaitelmacher

  • So he trimmed his beard. Is that considered heresy or chillul hashem? So he didn’t do what Yosssele Rosenblatt did when the Met offered him a gevaldige job in opera and he turned it down because they insisted that he trim his beard. That’s all they asked of him. As long as you don’t trim your YIDDISHKEIT! You can quote me on that!

  • love it. rabbi punzel is definitely my fave. for those who don’t understand it look up rapunzel on google! :)

  • I really like the cartoons and find them to be warm and bring a smile to my face. As to why Matisyahu cut his beard – it is mildly interesting but not so important to me !

  • many chabads trim their beards to attract females. chabad will allow single girls to skinny dip in a mikva…. not to mention some other weird scanals with shmuly boteach

  • A brief but comprehensive book on this subject was recently published by KTAV entitled “The Beard in Jewish Law – Halachic Imperative or Kabbalistic Stringency.” This work summarizes the primary issues involved and demonstrates the positions of the major authorities from Lithuanian, Chassidic, and Sephardic traditions.

  • 1st one was funny
    2nd one was ah ah
    3rd one didn’t get?

    but overall, I agree they are NOT offensive
    but I guess that’s subjective

  • Totally in poor taste. This is not a time to be humorous. If indeed he is going through some spiritual transformation..align yourself with that. Why don’t you ask him how he feels about it? He seems like a very sensitive person, and I’m not sure he would appreciate it himself. It doesn’t matter what I or anyone think, it matters if it hurts him. Why don’t you ask.

    • I agree. My wife and I had the privilege meeting Matisyahu and having a conversation about life, Israel and religion. Not only is Matisyahu kind, sincere and respectful, he has a great sense of humor. My guess is that Matisyahu would be amused at the attention that has surfaced because of this. As Matisyahu often says “Positivity,” embrace change and stay true.

  • I would’ve appreciated a funny cartoon about mattisyahu, but I have to agree with some of the other comments that this is pretty lame. And no, I do not think its humorous when somebody gets hit in the testicles. I usually appreciate good humor, but then again, this wasn’t. Sorry.


  • I am so incredibly disappointed w/ the Algemeiner. Clearly this is someone going through a spiritual challenge. If Chabad doesn’t start really dealing w/ the spiritual challenges of our generation – and continues to demand that all chassidim look alike, dress like, w/out digging into the reasons people no longer feel connected or embraced by Chabad, then shame on Lubavitch. The Algemeiner can write seriously about Newt Gingrich? But not the underlying issues of disenchantment? Instead it takes an opportunity to mock him? (Mattisyahu) Please take a page out of your brother’s book and explore this issue with sensitivity and compassion. I have an excellent sense of humor but these cartoons were not all that funny – certainly not enough to warrant handling this topic in such a manner. You know what cartoons you should have run? All the shluchim lining up to beg $ and favors from him… that would be more to the point…

    • Dear Offended,

      As the artist behind the cartoon, I understand your opinion and definitely appreciate your letter. However, unlike the throngs of people who have attacked Matisyahu religiously, these cartoons don’t touch upon religion at all. They are merely a cartoonist’s take on an event that other people are reading very deeply into.

      In fact, while people seem to be searching for something darker and have said hurtful and hateful things about Matisyahu’s “betrayal” and have attacked his sincerity as an observant Jew, these cartoons list a few obviously lighthearted (and very unrealistic) reasons someone would cut their beard.

      Cartoons are often inspired by satire, and read into it as you wish, but the point of these cartoons is not to make fun of Matisyahu but rather to promote discussion about the *personal* reasons someone would make this very *personal* decision – and in using “silly” examples like this, it provides a non-judgemental platform upon which dialogue can start.

      And as a side note – the same way you are concerned about Chabad requiring everyone to look the same way and seems intolerant of anyone veering from the beaten path, it is concerning to me that there seems to be an intolerance of people providing critical thought, a differing of opinion, or alternative humor. A lighthearted cartoon which doesn’t attack Matisyahu religiously or personally should not inspire such vehement response (not necessarily from you personally, but the responses it received on COLlive and The same way I would not draw a cartoon personally degrading Matisyahu as it is not funny and not in my line of thinking or work, a would not draw “shluchim lining up to beg $ and favors from him” for those same reasons.

      People need to lighten up a little and realize not everything they see or read is worth getting upset over.

      Learn to laugh people. Matisyahu as Rabbi-Punzel is funny! :)

      • I appreciate you writing and I should clarify that this is not a comment on your talent or whimsy. I think you have to understand that the Old Algemeiner Journal has a history and context within Lubavitch, and Simon Jacobson is known to be an extremely compassionate Lubavitch Rabbi. He is a deep thinker – the one we turn to for insight into troubled souls. This juxtaposition – to see these cartoons in his New Algemeiner! Therein lies the pain, tsuris, and shock. This is where we would turn to see the Rabbi Jacobson brothers write from the depths of their heart, with the utmost sensitivity and care. The decision to handle this painful issue with a cartoon was ill conceived. It seems like nervous, embarrassed laughter on the part of Chabad. Surely the Algemeiner is capable of rendering a think piece at the very least. Critical thinking… I’m all for it. Next to the Rebbe, Matisyahu is the most well known Lubavitcher in the world. How did we fail him? How are we failing others? What can we do differently? If a sensitive individual rejected us on such a public level, what is happening spiritually within Chabad? Matisyahu’s relationship with G-d is his. Our relationships with him and others, that is indeed something we need to examine in a critical fashion. Ultimately, my comments are directed at the publishers and editors. If they deem there’s no place in the New Algemeiner Journal for such a discussion – then which Lubavitch publication do they suggest?

    • If I cmomunitcead I could thank you enough for this, I’d be lying.

  • Pretty cute :). I’m not sure this is a comprehensive list, but you definitely nailed the top 3.

  • Hilarious. relevant and witty.

  • Great sense of humor!

  • IMO – these are all good reasons for ANYone to shave their beard. as if you needed any 😉

  • I love these! My husband does not keep up with things at all, but even he commented on the whole Matsiyahu debate. I showed him these cartoons, and he loved them! I really appreciate how relevant and your artwork is.

  • Chava nails it again. Love her.

  • I love these! Chava you are so great at making all situations into a great cartoon! Still a fan!

    • You’re clearly humor impaired.

    • Some people find humor in watching people get hit in the testicles or getting drunk in New Jersey, while others prefer relevant, creative and intriguing bits of genius such as these comics.

      With no due respect, YOU’RE lame.

  • It’s embarrassing that your website shows this. I don’t think Rabbi Jakobson would have approved.

  • Love the last one– Rabbi Punzel let down your golden beard!

  • Humorous and showcasing AMAZING talent!

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