Just released moments ago on his Twitter account, Matisyahu writes:
This morning I posted a photo of myself on Twitter [the photo to the right].
No more Chassidic reggae superstar.
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.
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.
Update: For those feeling a little confused, Matisyahu later tweeted today:
“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.”
I for one echo the thoughts of many other rabbis who have voiced support for Matisyahu. It seems to be a progression on his continuing spiritual journey rather than a step backwards. Furthermore, it seems to be a result of his thinking critically about his own spirituality and observance.
Update, 12/14/11: To the left is a new picture released of Matisyahu without a beard. This one is better than the one from yesterday, and his yarmulke is more visible.
Update, 12/15/11: For all those still wondering the big question of WHY Matisyahu shaved off his beard, HERE is an interview where Matisyahu explains the reasoning behind his decision.