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Cartoon: Why Did Matisyahu Really Do It?

Algemeiner Cartoonist Chava Light gives her take on why Matisyahu really trimmed his stubble.

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#1 Comment By Yitzchok On December 15, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

Although he sings and is a professional in his own right, it is quite obvious that he is not able to handle the public.

He is definitely a sensitive individual, and -like all of us- he can use some guidance, rather than following his own instincts.

#2 Comment By GO CHAVA On December 15, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

YOU ARE GENIOUS :D

#3 Comment By D.B. On December 15, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

Who the heck is Chava Light and why does the supposedly Lubavitch-run Algemeiner give her space to make “light” of a very serious halachic issue?

#4 Comment By beards vs. sheitels On December 15, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

if you all think that beards get in the way, try sheitels.

#5 Comment By Chana Z. W. On December 15, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

Just laugh – it’s a funny cartoon, that’s all :)

#6 Comment By Leave Comment On December 15, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

I personally would like to invite you all to attend this Friday night services at the Besht Center in Crown Heights, for a very inspirational shabbos service. At the Besht, all are welcome, we do not judge people by the color of their skin nor the extent of their facial hair. Come sing, pray all in unionism to the one Gd, our father, the father of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.
Please help spread the light of Chanukah, the light of peace, understanding, kindness, love.

#7 Comment By Tziipporah Sufrin On December 15, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

Whatever his reason. His music willnot be allowed in our house,nor will I have in our Chabad House.We want people who are on the upward spiral of Yiddishkeit and not the other way around.

#8 Comment By I want to buy them On December 15, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

These cartoons are awesome!

#9 Comment By Shlomo On December 15, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

Wow, #7, Wow.. Glad I live nowhere near your Chabad house! Seems like you have the Rebbe’s message all backward. How embarrassing for you and your shlichus.

Did you ever stop to consider that your attitude may be precisely what gives Matisyahu and conflicted JEWS like him a reason to feel alienated from so-called Torah Jews in the first place?

Don’t play his music, fine, but to categorically reject all Jews who aren’t on par with your definition of the “upward spiral of yiddishkeit” is deplorable and a chilul Lubavitch.

#10 Comment By Derka Derka On December 15, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

@ D.B. YEA! How dare there be free expression in the form of water color and humorous cartoons! We should take the same offense that the Muslims did at seeing a cartoon of Mohammad, right?!

#11 Comment By I agree :) On December 15, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

Hehe I like #10

#12 Comment By Esther Caroline and friends On December 15, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

SO CUTE CHAVA!
from esther caroline and friends

#13 Comment By A very grateful community mom! On December 15, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

I feel bad for Mattisyahu. A yid without a strong foundation, is now floundering. I believe the reason he took off the beard is because he looks so much younger without,, vanity is a nisayon that many have a hard time keeping a handle on,,,

#14 Comment By really? On December 15, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

are you ppl serious? just let it go…..life goes on….

#15 Comment By NOT PROPER On December 15, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

SINCE WHEN KOCH’N SO MUCH IN SOMEONE’S PERSONAL SPIRITUAL STRUGGLES AND CHALLENGES HAS BECOME LEGITIMATE??? AND IN SUCH MEDIUM?? AND ON SUCH SCALE??

WHY DOES THIS FEEL SO WRONG? THERE ARE SO MANY HALOCHO ISSUES REGARDING THE PUBLISHMENT OF ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE.. ARE WE AWARE OF IT AT ALL???

LET ALONE HALOCHO FOR A SECOND, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF THIS CARTOON WOULD BE ABOUT YOU?? ABOUT YOUR STRUGGLES IN YIDDISHKAYT??

AM I THE ONLY ONE ON THIS?

IF THIS OUR PRESS TODAY, WHAT WILL BE TOMORROWS’?

#16 Comment By B O B On December 15, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

Leave the poor guy alone… Inside, Reb’ Miller is a simple yid who wants to be left alone. He might even want to move into a private snoopy dog house and live there part time and visit the real world when he gets the courage to do so. Leave him be. He’ll come around in time and grow back the beard. Mark my words.

#17 Comment By Me On December 15, 2011 @ 10:47 pm

Very helick lubavitch issue blablabla – tired of hearing this rubbish. Its the 21st century – rebbe ain’t here – its hard to hear this with all the other crap running rampant in ch starting with machlokes and rabonim so cut the beard issue as it ain’t going away ray!

Aaaaaa Chava was funny – can we laff abit?

#18 Comment By unbelievable On December 15, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

Chava Light, so glad you feel so comfortable making light of another Jew’s struggle so publicly. Nasty to say the least

#19 Comment By to 15 On December 15, 2011 @ 11:02 pm

To 15

Firstly, since when is it normal to type with your capslock on?

Secondly, stop with your BS about his “personal” life. He HAS NO personal life.

He stopped having a “personal life” when he became a celebrity. There is absolutely NOTHING about his life that is personal.

#20 Comment By Who gves a hoot? seriously. On December 15, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

It makes no sense that a lubavitcher website shows such interest in such low lifes.

#21 Comment By Dovber zeichner On December 15, 2011 @ 11:47 pm

I was a friend of Matisyahu in yeshiva. We used to very good friends. I am very concerned by the seemingly poor path that he is on. I am even move bothered by all the negative comments about him. Many people making nasty comments about him have never met him and do not know a thing about him. I do not know what exactly he is going through emotionally, spiritually, etc, and I feel bad for him. Please do not judge and or hate him. Many BTs go through a difficult time during their journey in frumkite. Perhaps he is going through some hard time and will recover shortly. Rather than seeing the negative and pointing out his faults, it would be better to wish him well and home he finds a clear and straight path in yiddishkite.

#22 Comment By Who cares? On December 16, 2011 @ 12:48 am

If he did this as a private man and would make no tumult about it, nu! But this guy is going public by saying that what the Ariza“l and our Rebe’s stated as fact Matisyahu says is ”ludicrous”, he’s beyond the pale and he qualifies as a Choite uMachti es Harabim

I feel terrible of many Neshamos that will follow his path. I’m unaware of a jew who cut his beard in order to grow in yidishkeit, and i’m unaware of a good jew who published silly pictures of himself transgressing publicly the teachings of the Arizal for the purpose of inspiring jews to become closer to hashem, you do this only with the opposite goal in mind.

#23 Comment By Annodamiz On December 16, 2011 @ 1:02 am

I can’t stand some of the holier-than-thou attitudes some of you harbor, the snubbing and lack of acceptance to other jews disgust me. What happened to “Love another Jew”? Accepting is an extremely hard thing to do. Everything is so foreign that isn’t heimishe yiddishkeit. Anything less than is obviously demonic and not torah way so it must be disgusting.

I don’t care, he’s a good man no matter what. He should do what he thinks is best for him.

#24 Comment By Fresser Rebbe On December 16, 2011 @ 5:12 am

BH
Who Cares

#25 Comment By How Humiliating!!!! On December 16, 2011 @ 2:11 am

you guys think that none of his relatives are reading this!??!!!

#26 Comment By Ummm On December 16, 2011 @ 5:01 am

Wowee Wowee wow. Whatever.

#27 Comment By jj On December 16, 2011 @ 4:55 am

he did it to impress jodie foster

#28 Comment By 2cent On December 16, 2011 @ 5:58 am

stop writing about this idiot, he is obviously messed up and confused. i’m sure glad i did not allow his “music” in my house.
to 23: i accept you for the sheygetz that you are – right back at ya.
to 24: i hope his relatives are reading this. i hope his wife and kids are OK.
to the rest of the defenders; stop defending this act of shameless publicity. the guy is making a chilul hashem berabim.

#29 Comment By 11 yea old On December 16, 2011 @ 11:47 am

not nice he is a bal tiova and we have to love a fellow Jew more

so he is lost and it is are job help him find his way

#30 Comment By A Rachmonus On December 16, 2011 @ 9:04 am

Matisyahu missed the Chabad point!
Without proper hachanos and goals – the actions suffer too!
I feel bad for the KARLINER CHOSSID and his family
HASHEM should help him
This said – he had the “zchus” of taking so many of the youth down his way…

#31 Comment By 11 year old to18 On December 16, 2011 @ 11:55 am

how dear you speak such bad words you cold blooded thing you shod be disgusted bi your words

#32 Comment By this is horrible! On December 16, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

this is really mean.

#33 Comment By its art people not a damn debate shut up On December 17, 2011 @ 6:07 am

chava u make me laugh and ur art is magnificent!

#34 Comment By yeracmiel On December 17, 2011 @ 3:13 am

maybe he had lice?

#35 Comment By Mazeldicker Rebbe On December 16, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

Someone expl;ain me the cartoons?

The day after shaving his beard he was at the mikvah and at shachris. How many Lulabs did the same?

#36 Comment By Does she realize how offensive and silly On December 17, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

To Chava Light (whoever you are) and the Algemeiner, (if this was printed there):

In Russia, Chabad Chassidim were killed al kiddush Hashem for refusing to shave their beards.

mattisyahu made a chillul hashem and his actions are sad and upsetting to many.

You should be ashamed of yourself for making such silly jokes about such a serious issue. Shame on you!

#37 Comment By dys On December 17, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

it is very not nice to make cartoons about someone else.

go mattiyahu zei neisht nispol

by the way everybody – i happen to have had a yerida yesterday (like we all do once in a while) but i know that its letzrich aliyah and like the Rebbe taught me (and all of us) that the yeridah itself is part of the aliyah. so i’m just going on

and first i’m going to go on with ahavas yisroel which is a kall kodel batorah.

#38 Comment By we don-t like changes On December 17, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

there are plenty of good jews out there that don’t have a beard. It’s not the beard that makes you a better jew than the next one. I think we are just a bit dissappointed because we got to know him with his beard (although before he became frum he didn’t have one) and we don’t like changes. I wish him the best of luck and I hope he stays very stable for his wife and children.

#39 Comment By Pinchos Woolstone On December 18, 2011 @ 12:36 am

I am concern for this young mans mental well being, artistic person lead torturous live, always dissatisfied, always struggling for the ultimate………
I hope his friends will support him and his family during this difficult time.
Is there a mashpia who can reach out to the family.
We all have our challenges.
I am sure the Rebbe will bless him with menuchas hanefesh

#40 Comment By A note from Chava Light On December 18, 2011 @ 12:02 am

As the artist behind the cartoon, I appreciate all of your opinions and notes. In response to the feedback this has been generating, I wanted to clarify some things. Unlike the throngs of people who have attacked Matisyahu religiously, these cartoons don’t touch upon religion at all. They are merely a cartoonist’s take on an event that other people are reading very deeply into – and were never meant as a personal attack on Matisyahu.

In fact, while people seem to be searching for something darker and have said hurtful and hateful things about Matisyahu’s “betrayal” and have attacked his sincerity as an observant Jew, these cartoons list a few obviously lighthearted (and very unrealistic) reasons someone would cut their beard.

Cartoons are often inspired by satire, and the point of these cartoons is not to make fun of Matisyahu but rather to promote discussion about the *personal* reasons someone would make this very *personal* decision – and in using “silly” examples like this, it provides a non-judgemental platform upon which dialogue can start.

For those of you who have taken great offense at this cartoon to the point that you attack me or the Algemeiner personally, and for those of you who have vehemently said things in anger and hate, it is these things that drive people away. I understand people being concerned that I seem to be making a mockery of Halacha or making fun of another Jew, but it is concerning to me that there seems to be an intolerance of people providing critical thought, a differing of opinion, alternative humor, or perhaps even those who choose to cut their beards.

A lighthearted cartoon which doesn’t attack Matisyahu religiously or personally and doesn’t provide any statement against halacha should not inspire such vehement response. People need to lighten up a little and realize not everything they see or read is worth getting upset over. And if they get upset, a kind word is a much more effective way of getting people to change than attacking them. Turning to anger the moment someone veers from what you personally deem as the proper way to act – whether it is me or Matisyahu or anyone else – is not something which would ever inspire anyone to want to keep up an association with Chabad.

I look forward to drawing more for you in the future. Your comments definitely are entertaining and good food for thought, and I look forward to future feedback. :)

#41 Comment By Chava Light On December 18, 2011 @ 3:37 am

Brilliant art, right to the point Chava, clarity to the hilt:)

#42 Comment By shloime freundlich On December 18, 2011 @ 2:55 am

Bravo Chava , welcome to Crown Heights where we love to hate

#43 Comment By musia brackman On December 18, 2011 @ 7:08 am

love the comic

#44 Comment By Chaya L. On December 18, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

No one has the right to judge him. We all have our nisyonos in life and no one knows how they would act in this situation. It is very difficult to have talent and deal with it in a spiritual and physical way. I wish him Hatzlocha and Menuchas Hanefesh. Let’s all have lots of Ahavas Yisroel. It’s the only way.

#45 Comment By judith On December 19, 2011 @ 2:57 am

Dear Chava Light,

I’m sure you didn’t mean ill by your humorous cartoons. But I must say that your response troubles me somewhat, inasmuch as you accuse “those of you who have taken great offense at this cartoon to the point that you attack me or the Algemeiner personally” of intolerance but you don’t seem equally bothered that many of the responses attacked *Mattisyahu* personally.

Perhaps you intended that to be included in “for those of you who have vehemently said things in anger and hate…” but it would have been more appropriate to specify that you didn’t intend or support the criticism of him that you evoked by bringing up the subject. Your silence on that point leads me to wonder.

I wasn’t even aware that Mattisyahu had cut his beard until someone sent me the cartoons and I don’t know what other reasons anyone may have for declaring him a Choite uMachti es Harabim, but surely we should wait for our Rabbonim to make such a determination and in the meantime be Dan l’Kaf Zchus, and always ready to welcome back a sincere Baal Teshuva.

#46 Comment By att. Chava :Light On December 19, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

There is a halacha that you cannot say something even GOOD about a person if it is possible that it will lead to people sayign bad. Your cartoon does exactly that. Why do you want to promote discussion about someone’s personal life/decisions? It is really of of line in my opinion.

And to Mrs. Sufrin:
Seriously? YOU won’t have people who are on a downward spiral- and YOU judge that? Leave him alone, don’t listen to his music,, even don’t have him in your house, BUT to say that publicly as a shlucha is disgusting.

#47 Comment By A Note From Chava Light – to Judith On December 19, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

Judith,

Thanks for your note!

My place as an illustrator and as a cartoonist is to respond regarding my own work – not to condemn people’s responses to Matisyahu. The people who have angrily responded to my lighthearted cartoon by attacking Matisyahu were not inspired to do so from my cartoon, but rather from their own intolerance of another Jew.

Additionally, if you reread my response above:
“*it is concerning to me that there seems to be an intolerance of people* providing critical thought, a differing of opinion, alternative humor, or perhaps even those *who choose to cut their beards”* referencing people’s intolerance of Matisyahu’s personal choice.

Additionally, I continue to respond clarifying the cartoon was not meant as a personal attack against Matisyahu. (“A lighthearted cartoon which doesn’t attack Matisyahu religiously or personally and doesn’t provide any statement against halacha should not inspire such vehement response.”)

I do not in any way feel a sense of responsibility for the response to the cartoon. People who respond angrily and hatefully to another Jew are not inspired by my cartoon to do so – and are the same people who have responded in the same manner on every other article on this topic. They are also the same people who do not understand the intent of a cartoon – that whether or not they find it personally funny, it’s meant to be humorous and to provoke thought and discussion. They are also people who do not realize a kind word would go a lot farther.

That brings me back to the end of my note above, where I wrote, *“Turning to anger the moment someone veers from what you personally deem as the proper way to act – whether it is me or Matisyahu or anyone else – is not something which would ever inspire anyone to want to keep up an association with Chabad.”*

I definitely addressed the points you made regarding my note above, and to clarify: no matter what people’s opinions religiously, I do not support attacking another Jew. I feel a kind word would make a much bigger impact. At the same time, my cartoons were not attacking in any way – either in intent or execution. However, once I draw something, it is out of my hands, and if people choose to twist it for their own ends, that’s on them.

I appreciate your note, Judith! I hope I have clarified!
And I look forward to more feedback in the future!

#48 Comment By Not Too sure On March 8, 2015 @ 4:42 pm

more please