Laws and Customs
The first time that Israel was introduced to prepare for Pesach was just before they left Egypt. Four days before they left, on the tenth of Nisan, the people of Israel were instructed to take a lamb or kid '
one for each household
' (Exodus 12:3). By taking a lamb or kid home and informing the Egyptians that they were getting ready to offer it as a sacrifice - this which was one of the Egyptians idols ! - they showed their trust and faith in God.
That year the tenth of Nisan was on the Sabbath, this is the Sabbath of the haftarah 'haggadol' ('the great') on which a great miracle was perceived. On that Sabbath nowadays the rabbi delivers a lecture to the whole congregation on the laws of Pesach so that everyone should be ready for Pesach.
On account of the very strict ban on hamets during Pesach, and on any even after Pesach that was overlooked or for some other reason was kept during Pesach, every Jew is very particular to clean the house thoroughly to remove any hamets. Likewise people are particular to have matsahas that are baked according to very strictest rules of kashrus, and to buy food products that are strictly kosher for Pesach.
1. Preparing the house for Pesach.
2. Searching, rejecting and burning hamets.
3. Baking matsahs.
4. Products kosher for Pesach.
5. The Sabbath of the 'haggadol' haftarah.
6. Slaughtering the Pesach sacrifice.
7. The day before Pesach.
8. Preparations for the Seder.