Archive February 7, 2024

The Torah of Treating People with Substance Use Disorders

Originally delivered as the D’var Torah at Congregation Beth Israel, Vancouver, BC, Canada, Shabbat Yitro, 5784 (February 3, 2024).  Event co-sponsored by JACS Vancouver (Jewish Addiction Community Services). Edited for clarity.

When I was a senior in high school, a band called The Black Crowes released their hit song, “She Talks to Angels.”  The song opens, “She never mentions the word ‘addiction’ in certain company.”

Even so, she must mention the word more often than the Torah does, which is never.  The “Torah” of working with people grappling with substance use must be extrapolated from other topics we encounter in the text, like laws relating to electricity or space travel.  Unlike those twentieth-century inventions, however, addiction has been around since the dawn of time – we just didn’t mention the word.

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