Chapter 50: Kiddush Levana

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Chapter 50: Kiddush Levana[1]

*See our corresponding Sefer “The laws & Customs of Rosh Chodesh” for the full details of this subject!

  1. The Mitzvah:

 [Every month] upon seeing the new moon [at night] one is to recite the blessing of “Asher Bemamaro Bara Shechakim.” [It is an obligation every month for one to see the moon in order to say this blessing and doing so is not optional. Thus, one is obligated to go outside periodically to check if the moon is visible in order to say Kiddush Levana.] Whoever blesses the moon in its proper time is considered to have accepted the face of the Shechina. One who says Kiddush Levana does not need to worry that he will die from that day and onwards until the end of the month. This means to say that he will not die an unnatural death that month. It is a Segula for finding a Shidduch to recite Kiddush Levana with intense concentration and with a congregation. Saying Kiddush Levana properly is a Segula for having healthy teeth. Kiddush Levana is a Segula for long life.


  1. Who is obligated to say Kiddush Levana:

All men are obligated to recite Kiddush Levana, and must place effort to see the moon in order to say the blessing, as explained in the previous Halacha.

Women: Women are exempt from reciting Kiddush Levana. Furthermore, women are not to recite it even though they are generally allowed to fulfill Mitzvos that they are exempt from.

Children: A child who has reached the age of Chinuch is to be educated to recite Kiddush Levana. The age of Chinuch is from the age that the child understands the meaning of Kiddush Levana.

A mourner: One may not say Kiddush Levana during the seven days of mourning if the period of mourning will end before the 10th night of the month. One may say Kiddush Levana within the seven days of mourning if the mourning period will end past the 15th night of the month. It is disputed if one may say Kiddush Levana within the seven days if it will end on the 10th night or onwards, prior to the 15th. One is to be lenient in months that are rainy and cloudy and there is chance that one may lose the opportunity to say Kiddush Levana.

  1. When at night may Kiddush Levana be said?

Kiddush Levana may be said any time at night, even past midnight. It may not be said before nightfall [i.e. Tzeis Hakochavim], even during Bein Hashmashos, even if the moon is visible.

  1. From which day of the new month may one begin saying Kiddush Levana?

One should not say Kiddush Levana until seven days have passed from the Molad. However, if one suspects that the moon will not be visible after the seventh, then if Motzei Shabbos falls after three days but prior to seven days, Kiddush Levana is to be recited that Motzei Shabbos and is not to be delayed. In cases of question or doubt in this matter one is to follow the ruling of the Rabbinical authority of his community.

Zayin Shleimos: Some Poskim rule it is not necessary to wait until seven full days pass from the Molad, and rather as soon as six days have passed and one has now entered into the seventh day past the Molad, Kiddush Levana may be recited. Others however rule that based on Kabala one is to wait for a full seven days to pass from the Molad before saying Kiddush Levana. Practically, one may be lenient in this matter.

  1. Until what day of the month may Kiddush Levana be said?

One is to beware to recite Kiddush Levana prior to 14 days 18 hours and 396.5 chalakim past the Molad. If it is past the first half of the month, one is to contact a Rav.

  1. On which night is Kiddush Levana to be said?

Motzei Shabbos: One is to recite Kiddush Levana only on Motzei Shabbos [or Motzei Yom Tov]. [The above time is only with regards to Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar, however from the letter of the law it may be said on any night of the week. Certainly, if one did not recite it on Motzei Shabbos, he must recite it during the week.] One is to only delay saying Kiddush Levana until Motzei Shabbos if Motzei Shabbos falls prior to the 11th of the month. If, however, Motzei Shabbos falls on the 11th of the month or onwards, then it should be said beforehand [by a weeknight before the 11th]. If it falls on the 10th of the month, one is to delay Kiddush Levana until Motzei Shabbos which is the 10th. However, in a case that the Molad fell out prior to the first day of Rosh Chodesh, in a way that the 10th of the month is the 4th night left to say Kiddush Levana [see previous Halacha for end time of Kiddush Levana], then one is not to delay saying Kiddush Levana until Motzei Shabbos if Motzei Shabbos is the 10th of the month.

If one is unsure whether there will be a Minyan available for Kiddush Levana on the coming Motzei Shabbos, then if he has an opportunity to say it during the week with a Minyan he should do so.

Kiddush Levana on Friday night or the night of Yom Tov: One may not recite Kiddush Levana on the night of Yom Tov even if it falls on Motzei Shabbos. Certainly one may not recite it on Friday night. However, if the last opportunity to recite Kiddush Levana falls on Friday night or the night of Yom Tov, it may be recited at that time. [This applies even if Yom Tov falls on Shabbos in which case one would be saying Kiddush Levana on a night which is both Shabbos and Yom Tov. In such a case, one is to say Kiddush Levana immediately at nightfall and only then Daven Maariv.]

Motzei Yom Kippur and Motzei Tishe Beav: One does not recite Kiddush Levana prior to Yom Kippur or Tishe Beav. It is rather to be recited on Motzei Yom Kippur [and Motzei Tishe Beav]. Prior to reciting Kiddush Levana on Motzei Tishe Beav one is to eat. One is to also change his shoes. When reciting Kiddush Levana on Motzei Yom Kippur one does not need to eat prior to saying it as one is already in a joyous mood. [However, one should wash his face and switch his shoes beforehand. One is to recite Havdala prior to Kiddush Levana. One recites Kiddush Levana while still wearing a Gartel.]

  1. Seeing the moon:

The blessing over the new moon may only be said at night when the moon shines and one thus benefits from its light. It must shine to the point that its light is visible on the ground. If one said the blessing without seeing the moonlight, and consequently without being able to benefit from it, he must repeat the blessing at another time when the moon shines. If the moon is covered by clouds, the blessing may only be said if the clouds are thin enough to still be able to benefit from the moonlight, meaning that one is able to recognize matters which are recognizable due to moonlight. If one said the blessing while the moon was covered to the point that one could not receive benefit from its light, he must repeat the blessing at another time when the moon shines. If one began the blessing with a clear moon and the moon then became covered by clouds, one is to nevertheless continue the blessing. Initially, however, if to begin with one knows the moon will become covered by clouds in middle of the blessing, then he is not to say the blessing [and is rather to wait for a more opportune time].

  1. Saying Kiddush Levana under the sky?

One does not say Kiddush Levana under a roof [or other hovering, such as trees, even if he is outside and can see the moon]. However, in a time of need, one may say Kiddush Levana even in his house, if he can see the moon through a window or open door.

  1. Saying Kiddush Levana with a Minyan:

It is permitted to say Kiddush Levana in private. Nevertheless, initially, one is to strive to say it together with a Minyan, as the King is more beautified when his commands are performed in a public forum [i.e. Berov Am, Hadras Melech]. Likewise, saying it with a Minyan allows Kaddish to be recited after the conclusion of Kiddush Levana. If one is unable to recite it with a Minyan one should strive to recite it with at least two other people, for a total of a group of three.


  1. Saying Kiddush Levana with nice clothing:

When saying Kiddush Levana during the weeknights one is to wear elegant clothing. [However, it is no longer the custom to be particular to change clothing when saying Kiddush Levana during the weeknights. Nevertheless, practically, one is to follow the above ruling and change to elegant clothing. At the very least, one should wear the Shabbos Kapata. The Rebbe stated that one is to take special care to recite Kiddush Levana with nice, elegant clothing and that doing so is connected with the final and complete redemption.]

  1. How to say Kiddush Levana:

One is to recite each word of Kiddush Levana slowly and properly, as one is accepting the face of the Shechina with this recital. Kiddush Levana is to be recited within a Siddur. One is not to say it from memory. Those who are married are to wear a Gartel while reciting Kiddush Levana. Kiddush Levana is recited in a standing position. [If one is unable to stand he may lean on another person, or on a cane.] One is to recite Kiddush Levana with his feet straightened together. One is to face East [i.e. Jerusalem] upon saying Kiddush Levana, rather than facing the moon. [Nevertheless, it is evident from the Poskim that many were accustomed to face the moon. The Rebbe always faced East upon saying Kiddush Levana.] Prior to beginning the blessing of “Mechadeish Chadashim” one is to lift his eyes [and look at the moon]. After looking at the moon, before beginning the blessing, one removes his eyes from the moon and does not look at it anymore throughout the prayer. One is to lift his feet three times opposite the moon and recite “Baruch Oseich…Tipol”. This is to be repeated three times; one recites the paragraph three times and skips three times prior to each recital [for a total of nine skips]. [One is to beware not to bend his knees as this appears as if he is bowing to the moon. Rather he is to merely lift his feet through lifting the toes upwards.] After the conclusion of Kiddush Levana [after Aleinu and Kaddish Yasom] one is to shake the corners of his Tallis Katan. It is customary to dance and rejoice when the new month is sanctified just as one would rejoice by a wedding. The reason for this is because the new moon symbolizes the future redemption, as explained above in connection to David, therefore we dance and are joyous similar to the joy of a wedding.

Interruption: If one did not yet recite the words “Uveruach Piv Kol Tzevaam”, then he may not answer Aleichem Shalom to anyone who asks him Shalom Aleichem. If, however, he already recited the words after “Uveruach Piv Kol Tzevaam”, then the law follows the same law as one who is in the midst of Shema. Thus, he may answer Aleichem Shalom to a respectable person, although he may not answer to a regular individual. If one has already reached G-d’s name in the closing blessing, then he must finish the blessing and may not answer Aleichem Shalom to anyone. If one stopped to answer to a respectable person directly prior to saying the closing blessing of Baruch, then one needs to repeat a few words prior to saying the closing blessing.

[1] Michaber 426; Ishei Yisrael 40; Tefila Kehilcahsa 22

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