I support the institutions of public religion. Our best houses of worship are a home away from home, a place to sing and celebrate and study, in public, with community. I support all religious institutions that work toward the good of the various faith groups and the common welfare.
Private religion, like intimacy, takes place in the home. Cynthia Ozick suggests we be puritans in public and sensual in private, and I second that thought. Intimacy itself is worship, with Gods help, a prayer service. A return to private religion includes prayers for the bedroom, and every room in your home.
Private religion is certainly scriptural. To love the Lord our God with heart and soul and mind is the first and greatest commandment. The second is to love our neighbors as our self. All the Law and The Prophets hang on these two.
How do we write the greatest commandment on the doorposts of our homes? Live in your home as a private sanctuary and you begin to fulfill the great teaching of love. Teach children and disciples diligently by speaking Torah at the evening meal and morning meal and at lunch.
Create rituals of reminders for your hands to do that focus your minds eye.
Private religion in the home takes place at the table. The traditional Jew follows a code of law and custom called the Schulchan Aruch by Rabbi Yosef Caro. The code literally means “The Ordered Table.” Later glosses
By Rabbi Moses Issereles are called the Mappah, “Tablecloth”. The table
Is the holy of holies in the private domestic sanctuary.
Your Table is a place for special, holy conversation. The traditional start with a discussion of the weekly or daily scriptural reading and of course a prayer. Others rely upon a once a week visit to a community house of worship to learn about faith and hope, but love is learned in the home.
Begin with questions. Is love an obligation?
We are called to love God. Does God love us?
Spinoza taught that to love God means no expectation of reciprocity.
How do we teach and learn a religion that is a system of kindness, one that inspires social justice? What teachings inspire a sanctified home with numerous windows, high roof beams, and open doors?
Are religions becoming political and politics religion?
Does separation of church and state work?
Are we a “Christian” Nation? Should this be our goal?
We have defined our hierarchy: The innermost circles are the Temples of mind and heart. We are commanded to fill them with the teachings that inspire love. The next circle is the home which we are commanded to dedicate as a sanctuary. The third circle is the neighbor we are to love and the buildings we build to facilitate that love. The fourth circle is our village or town or city and the fifth the state. Our nation is the sixth and all the nations the seventh. A concrete model of these circles forms a fountain of ever widening circles spilling over from the inner to the outer. The circles also may spill from outer to inner. For example, a public house of worship that insists that religion be practiced in the home reinforces the greatest commandment. Parents in the home teaching the love of God and humanity to children raise children who also learn to love and respect themselves. Leviticus (19:18)
This focus is a reminder that we must save our own lives before we save the world. A return to private religion means, simply, that we not loose our souls in our quest for salvation. The greatest commandment is directed to you as an individual. Religion in the private domain begins with a minding of the heart and personal faith. This faith gives us hope as we open the Book that has instructions for living. We start our journey in the footsteps of our parents and teachers and then learn that serve from love when we expect no reward for our efforts. One who does the right thing for its own sake is ready to enter into the public domains of religion and politics. Separation of church and state promises that politics will not be our religion nor religion our politics