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June 8, 2012 10:34 am

Sporting New Look, Matisyahu Tells Upset Fans “Don’t Worry’

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The photo of Matisyahu released on Twitter that caused some orthodox fans to express concern. Photo: Matisyahu/Twitter.

A few days after Jewish reggae star Matisyahu was seen without a kippah in a photo posted on Instagram, the musician on Wednesday responded to his fans, saying “that before prescribing judgment to some pictures, please wait and listen to my new record ‘Spark Seeker’ from start to finish.”

Matisyahu, who in the past sported the bushy beard, flat-brimmed black hat, black pants and white shirt worn by Hasidic men, was seen with blond hair and a T-shirt in a new video for his latest single “Sunshine.”

On his website on Wednesday, he attempted to clarify his new look to fans, saying, “There was a time when I felt it was necessary to show the world what I believed in through my physical appearance. I think this can be a wonderful thing, but as my faith has evolved I have come to believe there are many other ways to show my spirituality and Judaism. Ways in which our humanity is emphasized over our differences.”

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  • Levi

    Shlmon, you can’t fault anyone for your own personal decisions in life. The fact that you’re looking for someone to blame is really just an admission fom yourself that you made the wrong decision in life and now need a scapegoat to take the blame away. Sure there are many people who act inappropriately and dp inappropriate things. Lubavitchers are no exception to the rule. People are just people. Deal with it and take responsibility for your own actions.

    • Michael

      I disagree. While I was never Lubavitch I did spend some time in a Lubavitcher yeshiva. I have definitely experienced, as well as met “ex Lubavitchers” who did, a feeling of it is their way or wrong coming from some within the sect. While I think they have a lot to offer, I dont think those qualities are always emphasized and when people come down from their spiritual “high” at the beginning of their journey, they seem to fall harder and be more disillusion the more committed they were initially. Kiruv rabbaim as a general (there are certainly many Chabad and Litvish Rabbaim alike that do not impose this view) do not seem to limit or ease people in so well, and the result is all too often flash and fizzle. Matisyahu seems to be on the valley end of that wave, and hopefully will settle out somewhere in the middle. It is really hard for me to see though, as his music has been a huge inspiration to me and I dont really know if I can trust it as being Yiddeshe music now. Not to imply that I think he is bclal treif, but the influencing artists he has been working with dont strike me as the mashpia I want going into my neshama….

  • While I can’t swear to Matisyahu’s reasons for his recent changes, one thing that I can tell you as an ex-Lubavitcher, is that many who become observant Jews via Lubavitch are made to feel that the only way that one can be an observant Jew is being Lubavitch. While everyone can see that there are obviously all types of observant Jews, what happens to some of these newly observant ones is that if negative experiences happen to them by the same sect that they associated with Orthodox Judaism, it isn’t that they simply stop being part of that sect, but they totally leave the fold of Judaism, for they never learnt what it means to be an observant Jew without being part of that particular sect. And so, before Lubavitchers are so quick to judge Matisyahu, let them get to the root of the problem and realize, as it happened to me and others whom I personally know, that it probably was the fault of one or more who call themselves Lubavichers or Chabadniks who said or did something that turned him off – at least from Lubavitch.

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