Nov 9, 2014
Which Coke (or Chabad) Are You?

Op-Ed: The type of beverage you preferCoke Classic, Diet, and Zeromight say something about the Lubavitcher you are.

By Meir Applebaum

In April 1985, the Coca-Cola Company launched its new and revised line of Coke. They changed to a sweeter formula to better adapt to Pepsi's approaching market share. The public uproar was overwhelming, and within three months, forced Coca-Cola to reintroduce its old "classic" formula.

As the years progressed, many types of Coke drinkers have emerged, each with their own tastes and discretions, challenges and ordeals. However, there seems to be three general categories with which to if not define understand these groups. There are Classic Coke drinkers, Diet Coke drinkers, and Coke Zero drinkers.

1. Classic Coke'rs

They tend to want the full range of taste and sensual experience that comes with popping open that can of joy. They savor every moment of its sugary sweetness while basking in its refreshing and chilling effects. Sure, those 'chilling effects' may include some chilling, even frightening diseases, as countless health 'experts' and 'specialists' decry the many ingredients that cause cancer and other ills, while citing study after study that proves their warnings of impending damnation.

Classic Coke'rs know all that, but still cling to their rugged ways. Maybe life is too short to acquiesce to 'iffy' risks. Maybe this is their way of 'using', not 'wasting'. Maybe, just maybe, the experience is too powerful and compelling simply to let it go because of some bodily incongruences. Either way, they take it all in.

If others may feel pressures to conform and adapt these exercise extreme judgment and selflessness in determining which environments they can handle, to enter only those. Unabashedly, proudly, and without reservation, they proclaim their undying and sacrosanct commitment to Coke Classic, the taste, the sugar, the risks, and all its connotations.

2. Diet Coke'rs (or Coca-Cola Light'ers)

They are firm believers in the Coke powers and want the full experience as well. They yearn for the real taste, but can't bring themselves to drinking the original, actual drink. Instead, they'll drink the artificial sweetener Aspartame, despite it being linked to various cancers and neurological problems.

They will make sacrifices, but shirk from the most serious consequences of the drink. They avoid some of the health risks associated with the high fructose corn syrup and the 6.5 teaspoons of sugar engorged in every serving. At times, they are fabled for paradoxes and absurdities like the guy who ordered pizza with extra cheese, a large fries, and a Diet Coke. They proudly drink their Coke, but with a simple caveat. They don't want to be perceived as uneducated or 'extreme'. They show their sophistication with the great 'Diet' compromise. "I drink Coke but I'm normal", is their motto.

3. Coke Zero'ers

This may be the hardest group to understand, but I have the most sympathy for them for their quandary. They'd prefer another drink that doesn't have any health risks. In fact, they tend to be health conscious people who, presumably, wish to abandon all soft drinks. Essentially, they seem to have given up on Coke. But they can't bring themselves to dropping the brand altogether.

They are Coke'rs "in name only", but clutch that name tightly. What is it about the name that they just won't give up? Underneath it all, then, despite what appearance may suggest, they haven't given up on Coke at all.

They are believers, but for whatever reason evade almost all the side-affects commonly associated with the Coke brand. Indeed, at times they are embarrassed by some of Coke's products or by the negative press. Maybe their social circles don't allow them to express any sympathy for 'hazardous' drinks, and their Coke Zero 'status' works to alleviate some of that tension. They wish for Coke nostalgic memories of the original, authentic, deadly, and real sugary mouthfuls of chilled youthful joy, in those days before they became 'health-conscious' but for one reason or another, have given up on the full experience. They now suffice with Zero, taking solace in knowing that Zero is also 'Coke'.


Each group has their troubles, but they differ in nature. While the Classics may have difficulty connecting with or identifying with the world around them, that doesn't bother them in the least. They are idealistic and stand up for their beliefs in the face of social pressure and 'ficial' world opinion. Getting the full experience of Coke, they have little incentive or need to go elsewhere. Their 'troubles' are external, not internal. They are fulfilled, unburdened, and at peace.

The diet coke'rs can convince themselves they have the real thing. They think their fine, that they can suffice with a low-key intimation, but they remain hungry for more more flavor, a fuller, more savory experience something to enhance their increasingly lustful palate. They may turn to other sources searching for fulfillment. These drinkers can either move to Coke Zero or abandon Coke altogether. More likely, though, they will continue with Diet Coke, but slip in some other beverages on the side, all the while still convinced of their completely-Coke fidelity. Indeed, those powerful enough to have a say with the company may even push revisions to Coke's vaunted formula, to enjoy the best of both worlds.

The Coke Zero'ers status as Coke patron is in serious danger, and is not likely to last. Because they have no problem acknowledging their infidelity to Coke which they may even flaunt as an accomplishment worth emulating they can be easily lured into 'foreign pastures' searching for what's missing in life, for more flavor and excitement. After all, gone are the days when Coke was the only drink on the market. There's a new world out there, with a variety of choices, many of which are healthier and more environmentally responsible than Coke.

If someone chooses Coke, that's their personal choice, but there's no 'Right' or 'Wrong' beverage. This logic leads many astray, but especially those who already enjoy only a watered-down remnant of true Coke. For if it's a matter of taste and opinion, and despite their Zeros, still thirst to quench their prolonged frustration they won't be looking to Coke for some savory satisfaction, they already drink that.

Some of you might have been thinking "but wait a minute, Coke Zero is almost identical to Diet Coke sans half a calorie and a different name?" You're right, there truly is little distinction, namely, a half a calorie, between the two. But herein lies the clincher: despite the appearance of a wide gap between the Diet'ers and the Zero'ers, at their core they face the same challenges and adapt similarly.

The Zero'er is merely a more advanced Diet'er who is sure soon to catch up. Once one mixes oneself into the picture, deciding which pleasures cannot be sacrificed, which pressures to concede to, which social norms to conform to the mistake has been made, now it's only a question of time.

To those searching for 'the good life' I Implore you to reexamine the Coke of your youth, reenter that world of open and unbridled joy, reclaim a superb beverage's full glory, explore what's so compelling and invigorating that is keeps Classic'ers going despite all the 'experts' warnings of impending doom, and rejoin the unvanquished, but powerful few.

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Opinions and Comments
A true piece, only thing I disagree with is how coke classic is dangerous - not so, is the real thing in life
(11/9/2014 9:56:41 PM)
Deffinitaly points for creativity.
(11/9/2014 9:59:53 PM)
I always loved coke.
Thanks for reminding me why.
(11/9/2014 10:11:31 PM)
It seems you would do better learning a maamar.
(11/9/2014 10:16:43 PM)
Very bad drink for human consumption
Choose WATER
(11/9/2014 10:18:24 PM)
Sodas are terrible for your health
All types of coke are terrible for your health. If you're comparing Chassidus to coke, I would stay far far away
(11/9/2014 10:24:11 PM)
Coke zero
Interesting article! One correction I think should be mentioned, coke zero is actually the one who still does want some if the coke "experiences", whereas diet is really the zero coke experience. How? Very simple. Coke zero is actually only called that because there are in fact zero calorieS (plural), however coke zero does in fact consist of One Calorie. True story. Now you can figure out the nimshal for that.
(11/9/2014 10:34:28 PM)
Classic coke
Yea I'm a classic coke guy. Truth is - I never make such chesbonos when I drink coke, I just drink at the moment;)
(11/9/2014 10:49:20 PM)
Your writing for an uneducated lubavitch community
Why use sophisticated English
(11/9/2014 11:16:04 PM)
Best metaphor ever
Truly a remarkable metaphor but
there is one last drinker he wants a coke, badly but he stands at the machine and realizes that he only has 50 so he asks a friend to help him with a buck but by the time he gets back and click the coke its sold out. Having no choice he hits the deit.
(11/9/2014 11:20:29 PM)
What am I missing?
What on earth is the point?
(11/9/2014 11:21:07 PM)
I don't like Coke
What if I don't like Coke? Does that mean I'm not a Chabad Chassid?
(11/9/2014 11:27:13 PM)
I never drank Coke (or any soft drinks) because I dislike the taste, but I am a "classic Coke" all the way as per the allusion...

Very tasteful (pun intended) & hope many will get the message you so creatively and respectfully wrote!
(11/9/2014 11:36:03 PM)
Humble Classic'er
Great piece!
(11/9/2014 11:36:45 PM)
cheilech l'oireiso,
Cheilech l'oireiso, this is what chabad is about today, being mfalpel in coca cola??

where are you going to next? Kovetz hearos u'biurim?
(11/9/2014 11:42:14 PM)
Dr. Pepper
Why so few options?
(11/9/2014 11:50:19 PM)
Just say it straight up! Don't need this soda business
(11/9/2014 11:51:19 PM)
Coke is chabad
Hashem is the only balabos
Are you coming with science? How old is the world!
What is healthy today tomorrow is not anymore
Do you eat meat? It's unhealthy!
Do you eat milchis? They r unhealthy
Do you eat challah? It's unhealthy
Now also they discovered that whole weat is very unhealthy ( I can send you the link if you don't find it)
(11/9/2014 11:53:26 PM)
Cute, but ...
Nice try

Honestly the example doesn't begin to make sense.

Anyone that knows the affects of the regular coke know that it is just as bad if not worse than the others.

Also, there are many "real" "true" "authentic" lubavitchers that are diet coke and coke zero fans.

Additionally, there are many people that simply opt for water. What does that say about them? That they have no flavor to their life all together?

You may have a point about the spiritual choices people make, however you definitely can not categorize a community based on their beverage choice.
(11/9/2014 11:58:40 PM)
To #16:
because the whole point of coke is Chabad.
theres no saying that dr. pepper is connected with Chabad.
(11/10/2014 12:33:42 AM)
Terrible Metaphor
"Classic" Coke is not classic at all. The original recipe included cocaine, and the current high-fructose laden version was only introduced in 1985. Likewise, Lubavitchers are not classical Jews as the movement dates back only 239 years, and the current chumra-laden version is only vaguely similar to its Liozna roots.

Inaccurate metaphors notwithstanding, the compulsive need to classify and categorize people, is precisely the problem. People are not linear beings. They are instead individuals -- a unique amalgamation of qualities both positive and negative. This notion that there are "classic" people, guilt free and at peace, is but a figment of your imagination. Like Coke, all versions are somewhat compromised, and can cause serious harm if overindulged.

(11/10/2014 12:43:01 AM)
I think we have to be very careful what type of COKE we serve at out weddings!!!
(11/10/2014 1:00:44 AM)
(11/10/2014 2:52:29 AM)
Made me laugh so hard!!!
Extremely creative and entertaining article! You sure do have a future!
(11/10/2014 6:14:22 AM)
Its a metaphor chill
(11/10/2014 6:32:52 AM)
If people would stop putting other Jews into categories and start focusing more on fixing ones self, the world would be more fit for a .
(11/10/2014 7:12:00 AM)
No Coke
And then there are those of us who just don't drink the coke. We stick to water - no flavors or additives, just pure, clear water.
(11/10/2014 7:22:34 AM)
Wow everyone calm down!!
Firstly, I never understand how people can write negative comments to the author of an article on a public website even if you disagree with his point! A little bit of mentchlichkeit and respect for someone else's feelings!! I understand that anyone who writes an article on here can expect to get some negative responses but on our part, a little sensitivity..!
If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it.
In my opinion, I think this article is brilliant. He didn't write out the nimshal cuz it's pretty clear, but it seems some people here didn't get it and therefor are getting caught up on this coke mashal.
(11/10/2014 8:17:03 AM)
I am SO disappointed in this audience
It seems #9 is the only one who is absolutely right. This IS an uneducated community and it's deplorable. Come on guys, anyone who even claims to be a chassid and is learning even a smidgen (for you uneducated, that means a drop) of chassidus, you have a mind and know how to use it when you WANT TO.
This piece is nothing short of amazing...creative...and brilliant. It takes a sad, tragic fact of a part of chabad today and explains it in a palatable (pun intended) manner.

THIS IS NOT ABOUT COKE or unhealthy drinks ,you clueless people....#5 thanks so much!! for telling us to drink water..this is very helpful to the discussion.(NOT)

Thanks to the writer and don't give up. Not everyone is as uneducated as they like to claim they are.

May all those who get this...take it to heart....Mashiach Now!
(11/10/2014 8:21:25 AM)
Reds ?
Light ?
Ultra Light?
(11/10/2014 10:07:13 AM)
is the biggest fake of all. It started out years ago as a true health oriented drink and is now one of the most unhealthy drinks out there. Huge amounts of sugar. While Chabad is the real thing and always has been.
(11/10/2014 10:54:41 AM)
I disagree with the premise...
Metaphorically speaking of course,

Coke classic represents klipas nogah - the world in its natural form - the sweetness of life in an ice cold can

Diet coke is Iskafya Vi'shapcha - a withholding from the raw sweetness yet transforming and elevating at the same time.

Coke Zero - Bittul Bemitzius - Who can understand this one?
(no one :))))

(11/10/2014 11:08:03 AM)
Silly Moshol

(11/10/2014 11:34:45 AM)
A classic..)
whereever there is Chabad - there is Coke
(11/10/2014 3:41:52 PM)
It's a good mashal...
...that doesn't really connect to the nimshal, though It does show a classification of human nature in general. But thanx for all that info on coke!
(11/10/2014 5:12:32 PM)
very cute!
who cares if its not true its creative
(11/10/2014 7:35:20 PM)
what about the white coke?
What would that symbolize?
(11/10/2014 8:56:19 PM)
Suberb job, Reb Meir
Just want to reiterate what the few sane people said. This is an analogy.
The analog is simple,
There are those that opt for the less authentic versions of chabad because of secular influence (the naysaying experts) while there are those who stick with the real chabad despite the above.
That's all it means. Nothing more. No one said coke is healthier than water or anything remotely similar!
Lchaim chevre!
(Where's the coke? I need a chaser!)
(11/10/2014 9:14:27 PM)
agree with 29
but 29 you don't have to be as harsh. Every Mashul has a whole, the closer the mashul idea is to the audience the less connection it has to the nimshal; the closer the mashul is to the nimshal, that harder it is to grasp by the audience. ....... So yes this Mashul has quite a few holes, and does not fit with the mashul perfectly, even when you stretch it. The point was to bring a mashul that was closer to the audience which he did- great job!!! The point is to make you think........ ( and for all those who care: I never drink coke, I drink only water and none of this soda/ garbage. :) )
(11/10/2014 9:29:59 PM)
Coke (Chabad) Zero
"Same great taste, without the guilt"
(11/11/2014 10:18:30 AM)
what about sprite?
(11/11/2014 10:44:37 AM)
Nice, but a little off the point.
Chassidus is compared to WATER, plain, UN-sweet, UN-flavored, UN-adulterated WATER.

(L'chisheyofutzu MA'AINOSECHA chutzoh.....)

Usually wells contain water, NOT Coke!

Sometimes people just want PLAIN, TRUE, UN-flavored chassidus - instead of all the other "flavors" and artificial coloring and "sweeteners" mixed in!
(11/11/2014 7:51:28 PM)
WHat if..
what if u dont like any coke??!
(11/11/2014 9:16:34 PM)
Not so impressed!
So now maybe this should also be a shidduch question???
(11/12/2014 2:24:05 PM)
If anyone reads this..
A- #40 you should be ashamed of your words.
B- no coke, no water..
(11/14/2014 2:43:57 AM)
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