Reasonable Doubts is the story of one woman’s quest to rebuild her relationship with God, when her primarily intellectually based connection fails her. I read this book when I too was struggling with various aspects of my Judaism, about which I had more questions than answers. What resonated with me was Berman’s intellectual honesty about the limits of an intellectual connection with God, while still upholding its importance and value.
In healing her relationship with God, Berman grows to understand God through the lens of the non-rational – which is far different than the irrational. In one passage she writes “I still couldn’t prove the existence of God, but I could feel it. I felt it deep within my gut, where you feel the love for a child. What was that feeling? Where did it emerge from? It wasn’t an intellectual decision. It wasn’t based on rational arguments…Otto was right. Religion is best defined by an experience, not a philosophical proof. I know there is a God because I experience Him. And now I finally had my much sought-after definition of intuition: intuition is the first moment you smell jasmine, just before you try to describe it. Intuition is that breathless instant of love at first sight, the briefest seconds where you still don’t know what hit you. Intuition is what grasps our experiences before our intellect can sink its teeth into them. Intuition was my key to understand faith.”
This is a wonderful read for adults as well as for the maturely searching teen, and it offers much to discuss at the Shabbat table.