Pesach is less than a month away. This year, 2012, we will celebrate the first seder Friday night April 6th. Pesach's laws and customs are so many and so diverse that our Rabbis indicated that immediately after Purim we should start reviewing the laws of Pesach. Let us begin then by remembering what the Mitzvot of Pesach are.
In its introduction to Hilkhot Pesach, Maimonides describes very briefly each Mitzva, enumerating a total of eight Mitzvot from the Tora (excluding Korban Pesach): 3 positive commandments and 5 prohibitions.
THE THREE POSITIVE COMMANDMENTS OF PESACH
1. To eat Matza during the first night of Pesach (in the Diaspora, it becomes automatically mandatory for the first "two" nights)
2. To tell the story of Pesach--the Hagada--to our children during the night of Pesach (in the Diaspora, it becomes automatically mandatory for the first "two" nights). This Mitzva includes many other Mitzvot and traditions, like the 4 cups, the Maror, Charoset, eating while reclined, etc.
3. To dispose (=disown) of our Chametz Pesach eve, the 14th of Nissan (Friday April 6th in the morning).
THE FIVE PROHIBITIONS
4. The prohibition of eating Chametz during Pesach.
5. The prohibition of eating anything that contains Chametz, during Pesach.
6. The prohibition of owning Chametz during Pesach (bal Yera-e)
7.The prohibition of owning Chametz during Pesach (bal Yimatze).
Mitzvot 6 and 7 are indeed identical: an exceptional case in the entire Tora!
8. The prohibition of eating Chametz Pesach eve (Friday April 6th), from noon.
In the coming days B'H we will have the opportunity to define and review all these Mitzvot.