SD City Beat Reams Matis On Shomer Negiah
Edwin Decker writes in the SF City Beat:
Anyone who knows anything about Hasidism knows they’ve got a lot of rules. It’s a religion chock full of rules, really, many of which would make being in a hip-hop, pop, reggae outfit highly complicated. For instance, according to Hasidic law, Matisyahu (born Mathew Miller) must not have contact with women to whom he is not related. Which means he can’t even shake their hands when they want his autograph.
“It’s hard to [say no] to every other person who comes up to you,” he complained in the RS interview. “It can come off as disrespectful.”
When I read that quote, I laughed so hard my left foot actually careened off the pedal and my body sharply tilted leftward as I thought to myself, Did he really say that? “Come off as”? It can come off as disrespectful? As if it’s not actually disrespectful, it just sorta appears that way. Well, I have news for you, Matis: When you refuse to shake someone’s hand simply because she’s a woman—that’s what disrespectful is, you twit. That is the essence of disrespectful. It is the poster-encounter for disrespectful. Next to “disrespectful” in the dictionary there’s a picture of a Hasidic Jew lurching back in horror at a woman’s outstretched hand.
Come off as?
While the article is chockful of ignorance, loaded with misconceptions of Hasidism, completely misses the point of shomer negiah (I know way more women who won’t shake hands with men than vice versa), and could be considered borderline antisemitic, it nonetheless gave me a good chuckle.
By the way, the reason Matis stopped stagediving is not, as Decker suggests, because he got a call from “The Grand Exalted Imperial Highness of Hasid,” but rather because some chick grabbed his ass the last time he did it.