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Matisyahu = Jewish Pride

I don’t think I have ever been more proud to be an orthodox Jew then I was when Matisyahu took the stage in Baltimore last night at Rams Head Live. I hadn’t even known about him playing in Baltimore until Friday afternoon and was glad I would finally get see him after all these years.

I had expected to walk into a show with an audience similar to a Blue Frineg or C. Lanzbaum show, a smattering of yeshiva guys, some carelbachians and a bunch of nerdy YU type modern orthodox kids. I was pleasantly surprised. There were a few yarmulkes, some older folks as well and a couple of skirts fluttering about, but a majority of the thousands of concert goers were as secular and non-Jewish as they come.

The surge of Jewish pride I felt when Matisyahu took the stage was unbeleivable, it was an amazing moment in my life to see a packed main stream concert venue with thousands of drunk and screaming fans cheering for an orthodox singer.

Now folks love to criticize whenever someone becomes a superstar, but honestly speaking, I don’t think anyone has been so good for orthodox Jewery in a long time. Matisyahu has been criticized for leaving Chabad, but you couldn’t miss the chabadnicks who were out and about and the several shoutouts that Matisyahu gave to Lubavitchers and Crown Heights.

I also like his peyos look better and noticed that much of his dance technique appeared to be Breslover based. Maybe he’s done with Karlin Stolin and on to Breslover chassidus.

Since the concert venue was packed to the brims and it was hartd to see I did get a hookup from Matisyahus wife who is a frum satire fan and got to join other VIPers in a special section where we had center stage views and plenty of room to shake our tushes to the grooving beats.

A good show and I was proud to support such a great and powerful influence on Jews everywhere.

{ 48 comments… add one }
  • Phil November 2, 2008, 8:50 PM

    Matisyahu is a great kiddush Hashem, despite what some of his yeshivish detractors have to say. The fact that he can keep his frum identity despite having to hang out and be paired up with some of worst influences a BT can have, is truly amazing.

    Personally, I don’t enjoy that sort of music, maybe Bob Marley once in a while, but Jewish musician playing mainstream music instead of the ridiculous mbd/fried constant marching beat is a breath of fresh air. Being a metalhead, I’m always on the lookout for frum guitarists than can play. Check out the 3 I found last week:

    1) Yood – Chabad guys playing Hendrix Voodoo Child:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsPj1wSET_4

    2) Yoni Lorber – Saw this yechi guy play his first wedding about 6 weeks ago, he’s related to the Piamenta clan. A good version of Hendrix red house solo.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIisUbl3rvs

    3) Yoni ? – Israeli kid, seems to love old metallica as I do. He’s got a few clips.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jonaj222

    Enjoy.

  • Crawling Axe November 2, 2008, 8:51 PM

    My buddy Nosson Zand was supposed to be there (in the Ms entourage). Hell be glad to know they had an effect.

  • rochester guy November 2, 2008, 10:12 PM

    any video?

  • M November 2, 2008, 10:23 PM

    I’m a Latina “Cafeteria Catholic” who enjoyed the Matisyahu Baltimore show with my hubby & 13 yr old son. We’re all living in an age where we can have different views of the world but live together with much love and respect! As you pointed out in your blog, the show last night proved we’re all leading the lovefest and it’s a beautiful sight I’m happy to witness!

    PEACE!

  • Frum Satire November 2, 2008, 10:47 PM

    Dude Nosson Zand was amazing- simply amazing and I got it on film – just have to upload the video to my computer. I even gave him my card- after the show put it in his pocket because he was busy

  • Nemo November 2, 2008, 10:55 PM

    I was at the Philly concert the other night …

    Did you ever see this video of this Nosson Zand guy?

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1374204/song_of_david_the_movie_with_hebrew_subtitles/

  • Chris_B November 3, 2008, 1:53 AM

    How much was the show? I wanted to see him in Tokyo last year but it was about $80/ticket (from Yen to $)

  • shomershabbossoprano November 3, 2008, 9:15 AM

    I was there 🙂

    Show was awesome!

    That is all.

  • shevers November 3, 2008, 9:20 AM

    Really?

    I finally saw him this summer when he came to Summerfest in Milwaukee…. I was very excited and brought my nonobservant sisters.

    I felt like it was a total chillul hashem. What went on at the show I was at was disgusting. When we left even my sisters were like “Wait he can’t do that, thats not fair to his wife!”

    Maybe he learned a lesson at that show and didn’t repeat what he did I guess??

  • Left Brooklyn and never looked back November 3, 2008, 9:57 AM

    Check out Andy Statman for another kiddush hashem.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMqFOQ8LvTY&feature=related

  • Frum Satire November 3, 2008, 9:58 AM

    I paid 30 bucks a ticket Chris.

    Shevers I cant imagine what he did – but I am sure if your frum enough anything can be considered a chillul Hashem. Including him saying Shema on stage in an impassioned state.

  • shevers November 3, 2008, 1:34 PM

    I’m not such a frummy…

    he brought the crowd on stage and girls were dancing on him. Maybe that was the last time he brought a crowd on stage?

    I really admire him. I mean he’s living the dream. (I was a musician before I became “frummy”. But theres some lines….

  • Phil November 3, 2008, 3:32 PM

    Shevers,

    Sounds like quite a party for a chassid. What do you mean by “the girls were dancing ON him”?
    Were the girls frum? Did he give them backstage passes? Was his wife in the crowd?

    I imaginged him as more of a “goody good boy”. I’ve never been to any of his shows, I know he is coming here in December, maybe I’ll go just because.

  • Nemo November 3, 2008, 6:15 PM

    Cummon Shevers … did he actually invite the girls up onto the stage to “dance on him” or did they just start doing it once they were already up there? We’re talking about a guy who quit crowd surfing early in his career because his rabbi told him not to … doesn’t seem like the type of person who would suddenly make a total 360 and let girls “dance on him.”

  • shevers November 3, 2008, 7:29 PM

    It was obviously girls who just started doing it. Nonetheless, bad move. Different things he said I’m sure led the crowd to believe he would be okay with that behavior.

    What I’m banking on is that its Summerfest in Milwaukee after all and he was drinking some of our signature beverage the entire show and was not in complete control of his faculties.

  • Nemo November 3, 2008, 8:41 PM

    You’re banking on a lot of un-sureties:

    1. You don’t know whether or what he said to make the crowd understand that it would be ok.

    2. You don’t know that his saying anything would have stopped them.

    3. You are assuming that he wasn’t in complete control of his faculties.

    4. You are assuming that not being in complete control of his faculties was the cause of his doing what he did (contrast that with the fact that you’ve acknowledged that it was the girls that “just started doing it”)

    Yet, you are quick to brand him a Chillul Hashem and be disgusted by what went on there …

  • Phil November 3, 2008, 9:17 PM

    I can’t picture this guy inviting this kind of behaviour. Now if it happened should/could he have stopped it? Tough call, he has to please the average concert fans while being careful not to overstep halachic boundaries. The one thing I can say is that I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes as far as the daily tests he must go through. Imagine sharing a venue with some of most nototrious womanizing, boozing, drug taking musicians today, and being expected to socialize with them. It must be hard to learn Chitas backstage when the other bands / musicians are shtupping groupies.

    I remember being in Dallas during a show of his (which I didn’t attend). The next day, a guy was talking trash about how he didn’t stop the kids from smoking weed at his show, and how he was responsible. I asked them if he sold them weed or forced them to smoke, which of course he couldn’t answer. Is he expected to be their babysitter? Where are the parents and teachers? He would be shooting himself in the foot if he tried to stop fans from partying. Is he supposed to enforce shomer negiah on goyim or run away when girls start dancing near him?

  • shevers November 3, 2008, 11:20 PM

    I would like to note that I branded the specific incident a chillul hashem. The incident was a chillul hashem no matter how you spin it! It was disgusting to watch! I never said he was a chillul hashem.

    I think the opposite. I find his music extremely spiritually deep and its still amazing to me every time I hear some random kid off the street singing his spiritually loaded lyrics.

    I am also disgusted by the way most Chabaniks talk about him and treat him and feel that has to have contributed to his “falling out” with Chabad.

    Nonetheless, after listening to him for a few years, being totally inspired, and then finally seeing him, and excited about the fact I was bringing my sisters to something I thought was going to be a positive experience, and it being an experience that even turned off my completely non-observant sisters… sorry I’m going to deem what occurred a chillul hashem.

  • shevers November 3, 2008, 11:22 PM

    Also I feel like its say he wasn’t in complete control since he was drinking Miller the entire time and if you know anything about Summerfest its pretty characteristic of the performing acts to drink a lot of beer…

  • Nemo November 3, 2008, 11:45 PM

    Wow, so you don’t even know if he was drunk? You’re just adding a whole new load of possibly unfounded assumptions …

    You’re just assuming that he must’ve been drunk because he drank Miller and other people characteristically do it?

    How do you know how many beers he had?

    How do you know what his tolerance level is?

    How do you know that he wasn’t in complete control?

    Tell your non-observant sister that the two of you need not be so critical of the man vis-a-vis his wife.

  • shevers November 3, 2008, 11:52 PM

    One of my comments is waiting to be released. My meaty comment with my full reply is waiting for moderation or whatever. I’m not even going to reply until you read that comment once its made available.

  • shevers November 3, 2008, 11:56 PM

    shevers // Nov 3, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    I would like to note that I branded the specific incident a chillul hashem. The incident was a chillul hashem no matter how you spin it! It was disgusting to watch! I never said he was a chillul hashem.

    I think the opposite. I find his music extremely spiritually deep and its still amazing to me every time I hear some random kid off the street singing his spiritually loaded lyrics.

    I am also disgusted by the way most Chabaniks talk about him and treat him and feel that has to have contributed to his falling out with Chabad.

    Nonetheless, after listening to him for a few years, being totally inspired, and then finally seeing him, and excited about the fact I was bringing my sisters to something I thought was going to be a positive experience, and it being an experience that even turned off my completely non-observant sisters sorry Im going to deem what occurred a chillul hashem.

  • shevers November 3, 2008, 11:59 PM

    Phil- Of course there were tons of kids smoking weed right in front of me.

    But that is a separate issue, its not his job to police the crowd. But it is his job to know which situations not to put himself in when it comes to his personal observance of halacha.

    Obviously he has to face many nisayons everyday considering what he does for a living. One of my teachers in sem was his chavrusa in yeshiva (this guy is also an amazing musician) and he got the same initial offer as Matisyahu from jdub or whatever and he didn’t take it because he personally knew he wouldn’t be able to withstand the tests….

  • shevers November 4, 2008, 12:31 AM

    Ok it showed up right before my second to last one.

  • Nemo November 4, 2008, 12:44 AM

    Why is it a chillul hashem? How do you decide what a chillul hashem is? (Incidentally, one of my biggest gripes is against people calling everything (chillul hashems”.)

    Be realistic here, he didn’t do anything remotely wrongs (of course, unless you’d consider him singing to be wrong in the first place). He possibly shouldn’t have invited the girls up on the stage, but he certainly didn’t tell them all to “dance on him.”

    So let’s be objectively reasonable here: is something that is done to someone a chillul hashem? If someone doesn’t engage in something, rather they were put into that situation, have they committed a chillul hashem? Who were you disgusted at, Matisyahu or the girls? Did he do something wrong, or did they?

    Rather than judging people so harshly and imputing their motives and accusing them of being drunk and out of control, it would just be nice for people to take a step back and think reasonably about situations …

  • shevers November 4, 2008, 8:15 AM

    I was under the impressions that in past shows earlier on his career he was much more careful about things like that.

    I was disgusted. Not in a “Oh man lets call the chumra police and ban Matisyahu”. But in ” can’t believe I just saw that”. It hurt to watch.

    Obviously I’m operating from a much more emotional reaction standpoint. Where as, you’re operating from a much more socratic and logical standpoint. (At least, again I’m assuming as much since you’re a law student).

    When you see kids who don’t keep Shabbos anymore and say good riddance to yiddishkeit, doesn’t it hurt? Doesn’t it make you sad? Isn’t it painful? Don’t you want to cry for them? (I am not saying that he has freid out by any means).

    Well this situation caused that same sort of visceral reaction in me. It also caused disgust because why should I watch something like that which was occurring on stage? It hurts to watch.

  • Phil November 4, 2008, 8:37 AM

    Dressing like a chassid is a lot easier than being one. Hopefully, he’ll find the strength to keep on the proper path. Again, his tests are extremely hard to overcome, the peer pressure on him is immense, being in the spotlight of the lewdest elements in the secular world isn’t necessarily the place for a BT.

  • Batya November 4, 2008, 10:37 AM

    Dancing on the stage? At the shlomo c concerts in the ’60’s and ’70’s it was done, but it was the days of cirlcles, separate circles, not jumping around to catch attention.

  • Nemo November 4, 2008, 4:59 PM

    The only thing Socratic here is my litany of questions …

    My point is that you have to swallow what you see by its context and probably explanation, not by your feelings or gut reactions. I don’t think it requires a thorough background check or a little extra Ahavas Yisroel to come to the realization that he probably did not want the girls doing what they did. Your interpretation is a conspiracy theorist’s; not one of anybody who knows a few basic facts about him.

    Matisyahu having girls “dance on him” (still trying to figure out exactly what this means) is not the same as kids not keeping shabbos. The two situations are not analogous: the actors in the story were different people. Whereas the kids are the ones breaking shabbos, Matisyahu is not the one dancing on the girls. Rather, the girls are acting on Matisyahu.

  • shevers November 4, 2008, 8:42 PM

    You win. I’m wrong. He’s a big boy. Who cares about his neshama. Have a good evening.

  • m00kie November 4, 2008, 10:06 PM

    nemo why are you defending that behavior so vehemently?
    you cant understand how someone would find it a chilul hashem – or at least a big turn off – to see a married frum guy invite a bunch of girls on stage to dance with him?
    even if he didnt plan on it happening that way, its still sad to watch..

  • Nemo November 4, 2008, 10:20 PM

    A. Because I’m sick of people intoning “chillul hashem” about every little peeve of theirs

    B. Because I don’t think something beyond someone’s control is a “chillul hashem”

    C. Because it’s unreasonable to get angry/sad about things which are natural to their environment: fans, given the chance to dance with their star on stage, will not think twice about whether he’s religious or married. To them, what they’re doing is just having a good time … not engaging in anything sexually provocative.

    If such natural events offend you, maybe you shouldn’t have gone to the concert to begin with. And as far as Matisyahu and his religiosity, maybe he shouldn’t sing at all in packed concert halls if this inevitable wrong, being as bad as people think it is, will occur.

  • shevers November 5, 2008, 12:02 AM

    Litany is such a law student word.

  • jew lookin' at me? November 9, 2008, 10:00 PM

    whoa, are you guys still debating this?
    ok, if so, in shevers defense….her argument is not that it was his fault that some skanky drunk girls wanted to grind….but that he invited them up on stage in the first place….it’s kind of asking for trouble (or at the very least asking for mixed dancing, a halachic problem.) there were tons of big muscley security guards who weren’t letting anything slide so it was definately his choice to let them up, they didn’t sneak past or anything, i can tell you that much.
    i’ve been to all his WI shows since the JDub days where they had mechitzahs to the most recent and at all the other shows only persons of the male gender were allowed on stage (the cutest being a group of little mini-chabadnik boys.) i’ve been amazed by a couple of his shows but the one shevers is refering to was not one of them by any stretch.

  • Shimon Frankel May 30, 2017, 11:26 AM

    What do you think now?

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