Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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!

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Food Spirituality/Tradition ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah

    ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah – Babka. Strudel. Stollen. Danish pastry. Not to mention Gugelhopf and Charlotte. The names set the mouth to watering and conjure up lovingly concocted pastries that feed the body and comfort the soul. If you didn’t have a grandmother who baked these delicacies, you wish that you had. George Greenstein was never a grandmother, but his life as a baker provided his children and grandchildren with memories infused with the smell of fresh baked bread and rugelach. His daughters, Julia […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’

    Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’ – There is a game that all of us have played at some time in our lives. We ask ourselves: What would my life be like if I had gone to this school instead of that one, or if I had married this girl instead of that one? In their newly published book The Ambassador, authors Yehuda Avner and Matt Rees play that game with modern Jewish history. Avner — who died earlier this year, and was a speechwriter, secretary and adviser to […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Lifestyle A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A unique group of young fashion bloggers and designers recently visited Israel to learn more about the country’s fashion industry and diverse culture. Hailing from the Philippines, Korea, Kenya, Japan, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.K., the 10 participants toured the country and met with top Israeli fashion designers throughout last week. “It was an amazing experience,” said Meissene Maghni from Toulouse, France — one of the participants of the program. “I’m Muslim and I really wanted to see Israel […]

    Read more →