The Hasidic Jewish reggae star Matisyahu has made a commotion in the religious music scene, and has been able to achieve the commotion with one object - his razor.
Matisyahu tweeted a picture of himself, without the beard, on Tuesday. The photo caused varied responses from his fans and also from people of faith.
One comment found on his website stated: “As a huge fan of your music and your personal voyage, I’m pretty confused right now.”
Another fan was puzzled as to the meaning of his actions, “So are you denouncing your Faith?”
On his website he tried to explain that he was not denouncing his faith rather that he had moved to a different part in his life. “No more Chassidic reggae superstar… I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.”
To clarify that he's not turning his back on the Jewish faith, he followed up with the tweet: "For all of those who are being awesome, you are awesome. For all those who are confused: today I went to the Mikva and Shul just like yesterday."
Matisyahu is known from his hit single “King Without a Crown,” which broke into the Modern Rock Top 10 in 2006.
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein gave an explanation on the place of facial hair within Judaism, “There is no obligation in Judaism to wear a beard. It's not a mitzvah. Facial hair is meant to be an adornment for the face,” according to the Huffington Post.
“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 wrote on his website.
The rapper has two albums he is working on. Earlier this year, he talked to Billboard about "Akedah: Teaching to Love," and he recorded the album with his current touring band, Dub Trio. The record is based on the biblical story of Abraham preparing his son Isaac for sacrifice to God.
He also explained another album that he says is more hip-hop-oriented, which he told the magazine would be more Top 40 than alternative, according to The L.A. Times.