From the COLlive inbox:
I’m writing to you hoping that many will read this.
I’m not a writer, but seeing how many people were affected by Matisyahu shaving his beard, I thought I should share my thoughts.
I was brought up in a frum, lubavitch family. Did school, seminary. Although I didn’t “rebel” (I used this word because people like to use it but I don’t think its the right word) I did go through my own path of trying to make sense of what being frum, lubavitch means.
B”H I was lucky to be surrounded by the right people and did find my way. One of the people that did help me is Matisyahu. Shocked?!? Well when he came out with his songs, I connected, like many others, to his words. He was speaking our thoughts, our challenges we face, feelings we feel and it made me so proud that you can be frum and still normal out there in the world. But now that I’m a little older and stronger in what I believe, I see things differently. It’s not a coincidence that this episode happened now just a few days before Chanuka.
Recently, I heard Rabbi Manis Friedman giving a talk on education. (I’m not quoting him, it’s what I understood) He was talking about children starting to “rebel” and an educator’s response. He gave an example of a girl who’s starting to dress not tsnius, her parent or teacher might comment on why she’s dressed like that. What they don’t realize is the messages they just gave her; “Your outside is all that matters.”
Matisyahu shaving his beard is like the youth “rebelling”. Don’t do the mistake so many have done, it’s just an outside thing. Instead of being upset about his action and what bad effect it had, why don’t you think about what may be going on. I don’t know Matisyahu or what’s going on with him, but I know his songs and now when I listen to them I realize that it’s his confusion, his struggles and challenges and not mine. And it doesn’t make me upset, but sad because it reminds me of myself a few years earlier. But I believe that he will find the truth. I’m not worried because I found it.
It’s right before Chanuka, where Matisyahu and his five sons fought to keep Yiddishkeit alive. Help him and all the other *confused youth by not judging and accepting them for who they are. Help them fight their personal challenges by letting them know that there is more to them then just their beard or dress.
I hope this will help you!
*Being a youth is in the head, you can be 35 and still a confused youth! So don’t judge even if they’re older and married.