I believe this article is the natural place to begin this quest to not only find out what leaven is, but to also discover leaven in my life. I am doing this exercise because it is important to me to know what leaven is so that I can recognize it when I come across it. As I come across leaven on a daily, weekly, yearly basis I will share so that as I walk along this path… others may come with me if they want and still others who come after hopefully will have an easier time walking along this path. That is how trails are aren’t they? The more they are travelled, the easier it gets to walk down. Someone clears out the brush, tramping through the high grass that has grown up because so few have been along this way in a while. With Scripture as my guideposts, I have my machete in hand, sharpened, and I am ready to work.

So, I am looking for the CORRECT definition first.

The first mention of “leaven” in Scripture is found in Exodus 12:15

“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. Indeed on the first day you cause leaven to cease from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that being shall be cut off from Yisra’el.”

I have highlighted the word that is actually the word leaven I am looking for in pink.

A few things about this verse:

1. Unleavened Bread, as a specific phrase, is the Hebrew word matstsah, it is not the Hebrew word for leaven, or even a word or phrase that says, “bread with no leaven”… so unleavened bread is actually NOT bread with no leaven. Confusing, I know, hence this exercise 🙂

2. The consequences for allowing this leaven are pretty severe, being cut off from the community of Israel.

3. Amazingly enough, even the Hebrew word for “leavened bread” in this one verse is not the same word for leaven used for what we are needing to cause to cease from our houses. In other words, leavened bread is not bread with leaven. Oy Vey!

4. We have at least three different words here I could look at: matstsah, se’or, and chametz

BUT, I am not going to look at all three in one article — that is just too too much to take in. I am going to concentrate on se’or.

Now, Strong’s concordance assigns this word “leaven” here in Exodus 12:15 (the first mention) the number #7603. It is the Hebrew word “se’or” and I am focusing on this word to find the definition or concept of leaven to see what it is that I am to understand when it comes to this word and this instruction.

Here is #7603 for se’or:

se’or {seh-ore’} from 07604; TWOT – 2229a; n m AV – leaven 5; 5 1) leaven.

Not much help in clearing this up yet. So I am now going to look at Strong’s #7604:

sha’ar {shaw-ar’} a primitive root; TWOT – 2307,2308; v AV – leave 75, remain 46, remnant 4, let 3, rest 2, misc 3; 133 1) to remain, be left over, be left behind 1a) (Qal) to remain 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to be left over, be left alive, survive 1b1a) remainder, remnant (participle) 1b2) to be left behind 1c) (Hiphil) 1c1) to leave over, spare 1c2) to leave or keep over 1c3) to have left 1c4) to leave (as a gift)

Alright, this is at least some more information. So it looks like leaven is a descriptive term assigned to “something” that is ‘left over’ or ‘remaining” like a remnant. If I were to write the portion of this verse using these terms, let me see what I would get…

“… Indeed on the first day you cause the left-overs to cease from your houses…”

hmmm. Interesting. Let’s take a look at the paleohebrew for more. We have shin, aleph, waw, resh for se’or and then for the primitive root we have shin, aleph, resh. More than likely the two letter parent root is shin, resh. I am now going to look at the PaleoHebrew to get the word picture for a concept for se’or (leaven)

WHOOPS! Ran into a snag!!! Simply amazing. Forget everything I just wrote! Check this out… so in nearly ALL of the reference material that we have to use to read the Hebrew translations where the Scriptures are written in modern Hebrew, our word “se’or” for leaven is written with a shin. That is the Hebrew letter that looks like an English “w”. It has the “sh” sound or even sometimes simply an “s” sound depending upon how the vowel pointing is done. In the MODERN hebrew mind you.

But, Praise YaHUaH… we have in our home a truly wonderful recent addition to our library and that is:

An Ancient Hebrew Torah produced by Jeff A. Benner. It is amazing.

It is the entire Torah in PaleoHebrew!  I was nearly finished with this entire article (the first mile marker on my path) when I received the thought that I needed to check the paleoHebrew reference. Yes, this is very frustrating indeed — I am both frustrated and joyful. Frustrated, because I used so much time going down this path of believing our word began with a shin… when it did not originally… but very joyful because we are about to learn sooooooo much more and this will very much make clearer what we need to know about this word leaven. So back to the place where I started and clearing out a new trail.

I am reminded of how, because of the fall and being cast out of the garden, we now have to work, toil, and dig for what used to be directly revealed to us. So this is how it is all the time. If I want to know the truth, not what I hear from others or am taught from others, but the TRUTH as it was revealed from above… I must toil, I must sweat, I must spend time, cutting, slashing, starting over, etc. So I am now deleting much of this article and going back to the beginning to get this information straight! [Thank you O my Father for Your Glorious Instruction]

OK, so the Hebrew Word for leaven (se’or) does NOT begin with a “shin” — the “w” look-alike. It actually begins with a samech!! Yep, changes a lot. Instead of a picture of “teeth” I have a picture of a “thorn”


From Jeff Benner’s Website: Ancient Hebrew Research Center:





סר / SR

Verb: Rule                               Noun: Ruler / Noble

Pictographic Meaning: The samech pictograph is a picture of a thorn representing a turning, the resh is a picture of a head. Combined these mean “turn the head”.
Root Meaning: The turning of the head to another direction. One who rules turns the people to his direction. The turning the head of the child or student into a particular direction.
Edenics: ?
AHLB#: 1342

Child Root: / סאר / SAR

Verb: Knead                      Noun: Bread
Root Meaning: The twisting and turning of the bread.
AHLB#: 1342 D

This is amazing!

I wonder how we went from “head” to “bread” with simply the addition of the “aleph”?

For now, I am going to stay with the parent root for samech resh — turn the head. And the fact that it portrays the concept of a ruler, rulership, imposed authority over. My mind is thinking of a bridle in a horses mouth or even placed on the ox for plowing… how the ropes that are attached are pulled one way or the other by the “ruler” or “master” upon the beast and the beast must turn that way.

Putting this in context of humanity…

What is it in our lives that we willingly give our submission and obedience? What has rulership over our lives? To whom or to what do we GIVE authority or rulership over our lives?  For many, and I see it with my own eyes… it is a smart phone. That is just a simple example. But plainly, it is anyone or anything who we give our time and attention to — who we follow or obey, whether that be a teacher, preacher, police officer, any authority type figure, the president… etc.

Anything or anyone who can cause us to “turn our head” away from God, His Instructions, His Face.

This is “se’or”… this is leaven.

I have a LOT more work to do, but this is a great start! Leaven is rulership by evidence of where I focus my eyes. During the Feast and week of Unleavened Bread, this becomes very very important. I am sure this work of clearing this path will be of great blessing. Follow up articles will be posted under the Leaven heading.