Fri, 25 August 2017
America is in the throes of an addiction crisis. The ravages of the opioid epidemic can be seen across the country, as it claims ever more lives. And there are other addictions—less severe, but no less real—to video games, smartphones, pornography. What can be done to assist those struggling with addiction? Are the tools of medicine and social science sufficient remedies? Or, necessary as science is, must we also tap into the spiritual resources of religion to help those on the journey down the road to recovery?
In “God, Religion, and America’s Addiction Crisis,” published in Mosaic Magazine, Jeffrey Bloom explores how Judaism’s ancient wisdom can address the underlying spiritual ills at the root of substance abuse and related pathologies. In this podcast, Bloom joins Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver to discuss his essay. They examine what medical and behavioral remedies can and cannot offer recovering addicts and explore the soul-sickness at the heart of addiction. In doing so, they help illustrate how the struggles of the addict reflect the human condition writ large.
Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as Ich Grolle Nicht, by Ron Meixsell and Wahneta Meixsell.