Posted by: Leah | December 17, 2011

Why I Don’t Give a Share About Matisyahu’s Beard or Hannukah Sameach

This week Jewish Hassidic and Orthodox world has been appalled by a hassidic reggae star’s decision to shave his beard. I have seen articles that said “Why Hassids don’t Shave their Beards” and other exciting opinions.

I personally have no idea how all Jews should live their lives, who they should date, what they should eat, and what they should think. What I know is that any faith is a road. You never stay the same when you go along that road. I have seen people who are suspiciously consistent, and this is a warning sign.

I loved the note that Matisyahu posted on his website:

“Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias.  When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process.  It was my choice.  My journey to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality—not through books but through real life.  At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity…to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth.  I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules—lots of them—or else I would somehow fall apart.  I am reclaiming myself.  Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.”

After all, when everything else fails, it is about who you really are and your relationship with G-d, not about what length of your skirt is or whether you have a beard or not.

I went through a similar process about four years ago, when I came across a bunch of very unhappy Jews, who very highly observant but somehow suffered from within with how they lived their lives. At the same time, I was considering becoming a part of Orthodox community, and as funny as it sounds the deal breaker was dancing. If you know me, you know I love to dance. Dance is a BIG part of my life, and I could not imagine it without dancing. So I went along my personal road without joing Orthodox community. I understand I surely missed out on many beautiful things I might never experience in my life, but I felt very wrong to pretend or lead a double life.

After all, this is me, no fake proper persons, and if it means a dancing Jewish girl, I would say bring it on!

As we are about to enter one of the most beautiful Jewish festivals – Hannukah, I would like to wish you your personal, not somebody’s else’s but your

Dance Floor

Image by enric archivell via Flickr

road with many miracles on your way. I realize Hannukah is a minor festival, but if it brings more meaning into our lives, it does not matter.

Shavua Tov, Hag Sameach and all good things to you from Leah.


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