A-Z: General definitions: Leaven


A substance added to dough to make it rise, most commonly yeast. In the Old Testament, when Moses led the Israelites from Egypt, they took unleavened bread, as they did not have time to wait for the dough to rise. The Jewish Passover meal therefore always includes unleavened bread. In the New Testament Jesus compared yeast, which can multiply rapidly and either make dough rise or spoil it, to the effect of incorrect teaching by the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 16:12) and their hypocrisy (Luke 12:1).

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