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Of all of the different mitzvot that the sages instituted, there are seven in particular that get singled out. They are known as the seven rabbinic mitzvot, and are so delineated from the others because those seven necessitate the recitation of a blessing (source).

I have been wondering about the obligation to eat maror on erev Pesach. The gemara (Pesachim 120a) provides two opinions as regards the status of this mitzva, but both opinions (Rava and Rav Acha bar Yaakov) hold that the obligation to eat maror is rabbinic only. And, in fact, we do recite a blessing when we get to that part of the seder (בא"י אמ"ה אקב"ו על אכילת מרור)! So doesn't this mean that there are eight rabbinic mitzvot, not seven?

In short: If the obligation to eat maror on Pesach it is not a rabbinic mitzva, there shouldn't be a brakha; if it is a rabbinic mitzva, why do we say that there are only seven rabbinic mitzvot?

  • Personally, I would start by trying to find a more robust source that delineates seven particular rabbinic mitsvot. As it stands now, the question is only according to the OU website; it could be made much stronger by asking based on classical Jewish sources. Incidentally, I am aware of no source for this older than a couple hundred years. – mevaqesh Apr 13 '17 at 5:06
  • I agree, @mevaqesh - but I searched and all I found was that site! It's been driving me mad: I was sure that I had seen something to this effect in the Rambam, but I must have imagined it. Do you know of such a source? – Shimon bM Apr 13 '17 at 5:08
  • I just started looking at an article about this, printed in: כתבי עת בית אהרן וישראל לה, תשנ"א, צז - קטו. I will keep you posted... – mevaqesh Apr 13 '17 at 5:11
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    @ShimonbM They not only need a blessing, but they need to be independent of directly related D'oraisa mitzvos to qualify for the list of "7". That's why a fence around another mitzvah, or performing a d'oraisa (maror) during a time it is not a Torah obligation, is still merely an extension of eating maror. – David Kenner Apr 13 '17 at 5:46
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See Tiferet Yisrael (Uktzin 3:12 Yachin 94) who lists seven mitzvot and explains that one does not count mitzvot that are only a safeguard to Torah law (Bedikat Chametz), or an extension of Torah law (Kiddush on a cup of wine), or remembrances to Torah law (taking araba minim after the first day of Sukkot).

To answer your question, Maror is a mitzvah miderabanan and therefore requires a beracha. However, since it is only a remembrance to Torah law it is not counted among the seven Rabbinic mitzvot.

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