Judaism and the Coca-Cola Culture
God set up the world as a system by which humanity has the choice to pull away from Him, thereby allowing for the “higher” Spouse-like relationship with Him to become available.
BY: Rabbi Eliyahu Yaakov
The following is excerpted from Jewish by Choice by Rabbi Eliyahu Yaakov Deutsch.
God set up the world as a system by which humanity has the choice to pull away from Him, thereby allowing for the “higher” Spouse-like relationship with Him to become available. God gives us the Free Will to choose away from the relationship with Him, since the quality of a relationship depends on one’s ability to choose it, and choosing it means you have to have the ability to destroy it. That is, it’s only a real choice toward the relationship if the participant in the relationship has the real opportunity and pull to choose against the relationship, thereby bringing about its collapse. It is because of this that God sets up a path “toward” Him and spirituality, as well as arranging for the option by which one can manipulate that path and go astray. This possibility of moving “away” from God applies to all of our character traits. Our character traits enable us to do Good and move toward God. But there is the option to manipulate these traits, use them in their unhealthy extreme, and go the other way, thus allowing for Free Will in the application of these traits. For example, the human being has a trait or quality called “giving,” but you can use giving in an extreme or incorrect manner, and then all of a sudden you are using the power of giving for the wrong purpose. The easiest illustration of this example is a society that advocates “free love” – this is a classic manipulation of the power of giving; this is giving gone wild.
We are hardwired to go after the max, which is to build a relationship with the Infinite. But for every desire to get the real thing, there is a Coca-Cola option calling itself the real thing, when, in fact, it is artificial. When a person gets sucked into focusing his time and energy on such a Coca-Cola option, he ends up squandering his inner yearning for that which truly is the real thing (getting close to God). He exchanges the Real Thing for that which is portraying itself as the real thing despite the fact that its entire make-up consists of chemicals and food coloring (sugar and caffeine not withstanding). This is the concept of klipah, literally meaning “shell,” in Kabbalah. In Kabbalistic terminology, klipah describes something that is a distraction or manipulation of the true goal. Just as a shell stands in the way of your attaining the purpose or goal you are pursuing (i.e., the fruit), so too, klipah stands in the way of your attaining the purpose or goal you are pursuing (i.e., relationship God).