Leaven represents sin. It is amazing the amount of "little sin" that accumulates on a daily basis that we do not even notice until we stop and do some "house cleaning".
As we were preparing for Pesach this year I was cleaning the kiddush cup we use for Shabbat and noticed the line between the clean bottom and tarnished upper part of the cup. As I polished the outside of the cup I was reminded of the words of the master:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
- Matityahu 23:25-26
As I was cleaning the outside of the cup in order to make it pretty and clean for whoever might see it I was reminded that the same substance that tarnished the outside of the cup was inside the cup as well and we were drinking liquids that had been tainted by it. yuck!
We should all endeavor to clean the "inside of the cup" of our own lives... deal with the matters of sin that are tainting everything that is poured into and comes out of us... and worry less about how polished we appear to be on the outside. That will take care of itself. If we are pouring forth into the lives of others a tainted substance they will be more harmed by the inside of our "unclean cup" than they might ever possibly be displeased by the appearance of the outside of our cup.
Out of the love we should have for one another let us each clean the inside of our cup during this time of Pesach cleaning. And while we are cleaning the inside of the cup may the outside "become clean also".