BOOK REVIEW: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction

This book is thoughtful, intentional and really well written. Rabbi Shais Taub has collected insights, observations, and suggestions for addicts (of all kinds) looking for recovery…by getting into the nature of Jewish spirituality. If you want to explore a spiritual relationship with God from the tradition of Judaism, this book is for you.

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God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction

“The really amazing fact about AA is that all religions see in our program a resemblance to themselves.” Bill Wilson from As Bill Sees It, p. 116

Judaism and the Twelve Steps

What is the main aim of this book? Rabbi Shais Taub’s personal experience, beliefs, and thoughts guide you through the 12 Steps within the Jewish tradition in this practical and applicable first work. He endorses the Twelve Steps as the product of wisdom, but makes a clear distinction between human insight and the Torah. Then, he goes on to explain how anyone can relate to a Jewish God.

Easy to read

Throughout the book, Rabbi Taub helps de-mystify the Twelve Steps by raising and then settling questions for you…seeming to be able to anticipate your objections to the Twelve Steps and cunningly explain misconceptions with easy and simple language. Additionally, Rabbi Taub keeps the reading digest-able, frequently repeating, summarizing, or re-iterating his main points throughout the text. I like that.

He is also really honest

Rabbi Taub is really honest about who he is, what he knows, and what he DOES NOT know. I appreciate this kind of author. He presents his opinions and beliefs, in a way that is both self-assured but also offers solutions that can help people. I personally found the section about the Fourth Step and forgiveness very helpful for a particular situation I find myself in.

In addition to addiction…Co-dependency!

Another really nice addition to the book is the section on co-dependency. It’s another frank look at the system of addiction among family and loved ones. I love Rabbi Taub’s style, his blending of storytelling with personal anecdote…a mixture of past and present Jewish wisdom. This section is just the cherry on top of the pie; a great accompaniment to an already thorough look at:

  • Recovery from addiction
  • Jewish spirituality
  • A personal relationship with God as we understand him


From where I’m sitting, this book succeeds in doing what has been promised: it sets up the Twelve Steps as a way for us to seek a spiritual solution for the problem of addiction through the lens of Jewish tradition and ritual. What do you think? We invite your opinions, comments or questions about Rabbi Taub’s new book.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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