Word of the Day:
1. An agent, such as yeast, that causes batter or dough to rise, especially by fermentation.
2. An element, influence, or agent that works subtly to lighten, enliven, or modify a whole.
tr.v. leav·ened, leav·en·ing, leav·ens
1. To add a rising agent to.
2. To cause to rise, especially by fermentation.
3. To pervade with a lightening, enlivening, or modifying influence.
INFUSE implies a pouring in of something that gives new life or significance.
IMBUE implies the introduction of a quality that fills and permeates the whole being.
LEAVEN implies introducing something that enlivens, tempers, or markedly alters the total quality.
All the more reason, therefore, for the one person uniquely positioned to be a lever for peace, and leaven of justice, to act.
— Tim Kelleher, National Review, 3 Mar. 2022
The Parable of the Leaven
A Message from Lady Liberty….
God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly. For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.
Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?
Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf. The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life. For truly my words are not false; One who is perfect in knowledge is with you.
Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?
If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up. Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
How long till you put an end to words?
Gain understanding, and afterward we will speak. I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you.
Indeed, who does not know such things as these?
Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.
Will ye accept his person?
I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.
Will ye contend for God?
Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
To whom hast thou uttered words?
I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
Whose spirit came from thee?
There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.
For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
In the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.
Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed;
Can he give bread also?
The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Can he provide flesh for his people?
Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.
Adjective – Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong’s 1588: From eklegomai; select; by implication, favorite.
Noun – Genitive Feminine Singular
Strong’s 79: A sister, a woman (fellow-)member of a church, a Christian woman. Fem of adephos; a sister.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
Leaven in the Bible
— Of remnants and going viral —
Scholars insist that there are two distinct roots שׁאר (sha’ar) and one שׂאר (s’r), but although any relationship between these three may not be immediately obvious to some, keep in mind that until the Masoretes added their symbols to the Hebrew texts in the Middle Ages, the following words were indistinguishable:
The verb שאר (sha’ar I) means to remain, left over or left behind. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament reports that “sha’ar seems to be used almost exclusively to indicate the static action of surviving after an elimination process” (Exodus 10:19, Ruth 1:3, 1 Samuel 9:24).
This verb comes with some obvious derivatives:
• The masculine noun שאר (she’ar), meaning rest, residue or remnant (Isaiah 10:19, 1 Chronicles 11:8).
• The feminine noun שארית (she’erit), meaning remnant or remainder (Isaiah 44:17, Genesis 45:7).
Root שאר (sha’ar II) is assumed to have existed because of the common noun שאר (she’er), meaning flesh, and the trouble most scholars appear to have with connecting flesh to a verb that means to remain. The obvious solution is that a person secretes less than he consumes for the obvious fact that some of what he eats builds up his body. A person’s body is what stays behind.
Our word occurs to mean flesh for consumption (Exodus 21:10), and as symbol of physical power (Psalm 78:20). But it also occurs to indicate a blood-relation (surviving in our expression “one’s own flesh and blood” – Leviticus 18:12). In Proverbs 11:17 this word is used to mean self or one’s self.
Note that the noun בשר (basar), the more common word for flesh, comes from the verb בשר (basar), to bring glad tidings, even tidings of comfort and joy.
The meaning of root שאר (s’r) is formally unknown, and only one derivation remains in the Bible: the masculine noun שאר (se’or), meaning leaven (Exodus 12:15, 12:19 and 13:7, Leviticus 2:11 and Deuteronomy 16:4 only). Bread, or anything else, that had leaven in it was called חמץ (hames) and the famous unleavened bread of Passover was called מצה (massa).
Leaven in the Bible
Leaven is a fungus that freely flows through the air and settles on everything, like living dust. It feeds on sugars and produces carbon dioxide, which explains bubbles in bread and beer. Archeology shows that leaven was domesticated thousands of years ago, when people managed to isolate and cultivate strands of leaven that resulted in the best beer and bread. The key to the process was to not use all the leavened dough for bread, but to leave some behind. That remnant or residue was then injected into the next batch of dough, and in time this next batch would have become fully permeated by the original leaven.
The word for bread (לחם, lehem) was also used to denote food in general, and even all things that sustain a person or even a society. The smallest trace of leaven will eventually find its way through the whole batch of dough, and produces a gas (רוח, ruah, meaning wind or spirit) which makes the bread more tasty and easier to eat and digest. Hence leaven acquired the strong symbolic meaning of what we today would call a fad or fashion, or even a “going viral”: a full-fledged movement of passion (whether joyous or riotous) that grew out of a relatively small concept and pervades the whole of society.
There’s nothing intrinsically bad about this social leaven; it just happens to be the way our world works. Life without social leaven would be boring and not very effective, but, as with any kind of fast track, sometimes things go wrong and the wrong kind of info creeps in (smoking is cool, adultery is fun, etcetera). In that case it’s sometimes best to condemn the whole strand of leaven, and start all over with a fresh batch. That’s obviously what the Hebrews did when they left Egypt (Exodus 12:8), but it’s also what Descartes attempted when he reduced all knowledge to his famous cogito ergo sum.
Jesus compared the evangel to leaven; it starts out as a simple message of love and forgiveness but spreads through the world like leaven through dough, until it forms into a universal and spiritual kingdom (MATTHEW 13:33). Unfortunately, humans like bad news much more than good news and most of the winds that blow our world are negative (nearly all of the violence we believe in comes from our television; the real world outside our windows is nearly entirely at peace). Hence Jesus warned his audience for the leaven of Herod and that of the Pharisees (MARK 8:15), and Paul warned for the leaven of misinformation (GALATIANS 5:9).
Paul further spoke of the leaven of boasting and arrogance (1 CORINTHIANS 5:6) and explained that the old leaven must be cleaned out and a start must be made with a new, unleavened lump, “just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the [Passover-] Feast, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with bread without leaven, the bread of sincerity and truth” (1 CORINTHIANS 5:7-8).
After all, knowledge puffs up (φυσιοω, phusioo), but love builds up (1 CORINTHIANS 8:1); knowledge is the gas, love is the bread.