Orthodox Jewish reggae star Matisyahu surprised his fans yesterday by revealing a recent photo of himself after having shaved off his beard, which he kept as part of Chassidic custom.
In a post on his website, the singer explained that he chosen to grow the beard as a way of exploring his Jewish spirituality and submitting to “a higher level of religiosity.” “I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules – lots of them – or else I would somehow fall apart,” he wrote. “I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.”
Though many of Matisyahu’s fans have interpreted this action and his cryptic words to mean that he is distancing himself from Judaism, he assured his Twitter followers that he is doing no such thing. “For all those who are confused: today I went to the Mikva and Shul just like yesterday,” he tweeted.