Dreadlocks and Payes,
From Marley to Matisyahu,
The Beat Goes On
The Dreadlocks were grown and worn as a word of mouth tradition having its roots in Leviticus 19:27-28, the same passage that commands Moses to tell the Jews “Don’t cut the hair on the sides of your head or trim your beard.” The beards and side locks of Hasidic Jews come from this passage as well, but the Dreadlocks have two additional meanings. The first is the belief that you should not cut your hair until you return from the Diaspora to the land of Zion. The second is the Dread part, fear of the Lion of Judah that the Dreadlocks represent as well, appearing as a Lion’s mane. As a matter of fact, when a Rasta would pass by, other Jamaicans would usually greet them with “hail me dread” to which the Rasta would answer “Ayree” in a gruff voice representing the Lion’s roar. Another slight difference in interpretation of the Old Testament is the meaning of “The Fruit of the Vine”. While Jews and Christians alike interpret this to mean grapes, (which are turned into wine for use in certain sacraments), Rastas interpret it as GOD given ganja to be used in the same way.
Bob Marley started out as a punk, a bad boy always getting into trouble. Then he discovered music and finally the Rastafarian movement. He set out to write and sing about the trials and tribulations brought on by bondage in Babylon. His message was that of the hope of the coming of the messiah and the return to the land. Matisyahu, (born as Matthew Miller) started out the same way in White Plains, New York. A troublemaker who found that he liked music, mainly Rap and Hip Hop. Later on he found a real affinity for Reggae, and most likely didn’t really know why. He discovered the Hasidic movement and joined the ultra orthodox Lubavitch movement, moving from White Plains to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. His lyrics speak of the trials and tribulations of the Jews and the hope of being free from captivity in Babylon, the end of the Diaspora and returning to the land with the coming of the messiah. Both Marley and Matisyahu borrowed and paraphrased verses from The Book of Psalms. Wow, what an amazing set of coincidental circumstances!
The show was set to start at 8:00 P.M. It was too early to allow a sound check of any sort as the Shabbot had just ended and Matisyahu will not break the laws concerning the Shabbot. In spite of the fact that the sound didn’t really settle in until 8:30, it in no way detracted from the talent and energy present on stage. (Also, the 500 seat auditorium was only about two-thirds filled at 8:00, but by 8:20 it was standing room only. I guess the 8:00 time was really a Jewish 8:00). The show kicked off with Matisyahu calling Rabbi Schmuel up on stage to make Havdullah, (the prayer, lighting of the braided candle and spices which officially ends the observance of the Shabbot). Then the music began.