Countdown to Pesach 6: The Effects of Actions
Mitzvah one-eleven (According to the Rambam’s order): is to destroy all the chametz in your possession before Pesach. The pasuk is, “You should destroy chametz on the
first day of Pesach.” Which obviously is ridiculous. When do you destroy chametz? The day before. So we will have to define why it says first day. “No chametz may be seen in your possession on Pesach and no chametz may be found in your possession on Pesach.” Okay? So the first thing the Gemarah does is say that when it says you should destroy chametz on the first day of Pesach it means before the first day of Pesach which automatically means on the fourteenth day of Nissan. And the Gemarah learns it out from a special reading of the pasuk. Now why do you have all these commandments?
So this is where the Chinuch introduces an important idea he has about Mitzvot in general. You know that there are approximately sixteen Mitzvot associated with the Korban Pesach. There are fourteen Mitzvot about the Korban Pesach. Why do you have so many Mitzvot about a single Offering? You cannot eat it raw. You cannot eat it boiled. You cannot break any bones. You cannot leave any left over. All the things that we must be careful to do, and things we may not do, with the Korban Pesach. You have to slaughter the Korban Pesach. You have to eat the Korban Pesach. You have all these Mitzvot.
The Chinuch says all these Mitzvot remind us of how affected we are by what we do. The Chinuch’s approach to Mitzvot is that Mitzvot, simply by performing them, will transform your soul. It is similar to the idea that you are different when you dress differently. When you are wearing jeans you act differently then when you are wearing a tux. In a similar manner, the purpose of Mitzvot is for the external actions to affect a person’s soul. We must learn to act in certain ways to nurture the development of our spiritual lives