The Unleavened Life

“It is time that we cleaned out all of the fermenting leaven of our lives and got rid of it. It is time to eat unleavened bread, symbol of the new, the hopeful, the fresh, and the clean.”

In this Passover sermon, Rabbi Olan spoke of the annual finding and clearing out of leaven from the home. Althought it is an impossible task – for you cannot ever get it all – it is a meaningful one and a great metaphor for life. For time to time, we all would benefit from examining our lives and our communities to expose the leaven (the rottenness or mold) that has been fermenting within, making us sour and spoiling the lives of others.

Once discovered, it is time to clean house. The leaven must be removed. What cannot be discarded should be disregarded so that it no longer holds sway over us. This is no small matter. It is, in fact “what life is really all about. It is translating our understanding into will, and our will into action.”

Rooting out leaven is both a personal quest and a societal one. In this 1965 sermon, Rabbi Olan spoke of Dallas, a city plagued with cynacism, racism, long-ignored poverty, and vicious electioneering. (Please feel free to insert your city’s name here.) The longer that good people stand by and let such toxins fester, the more explosive our future will be.

But don’t just take my word for it. Listen to Rabbi Olan through the video and audio links below, or read the text of the sermon. May our understanding translate into will, and will into restorative justice.

Follow this link to read the sermon text.
Follow this link to listen to the audio recording.
Follow this link to watch the scrolling-text video.

*Written by Tim Binkley.*