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
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 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
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 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
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 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. Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 5:46
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    The earliest sources I found for seven rabbinic mitzvos are the Rema in his Toras HaOlah Chapter 38, citing Keser Torah by Rav Dovid Vital, and Megalleh Amukos § 197, brought by the Shelah Sha'ar HaOsiyos Beis Briyos § 1.
    – robev
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


The short answer is that "seven rabbinic commandments" only refers to commandments the rabbis instituted themselves; but there are many other rabbinic commandments that are extensions or safeguards for Torah laws.

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).

With respect to maror, the gemara you cited is specifically discussing eating maror nowadays, when there is no korban pesach. But everyone agrees that there is a biblical commandment to eat maror in the times of the beit hamikdash. (There is a machloket whether maror is one of the 613 mitzvot or part of the mitzvah of eating matzah. See discussion here). Since eating maror today is a remembrance to Torah law--and not an innovation of the Rabbis--it is not counted among the seven Rabbinic mitzvot.

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