How to say Kiddush Levana

This Halacha is an excerpt from our Sefer


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How to say Kiddush Levana:[1]

A. Saying Kiddush Levana in a Siddur:[2]

Kiddush Levana is to be recited within a Siddur. One is not to say it from memory.[3]

 

Q&A

What is one to do if he does not have a Siddur and does not know the Nussach of Kiddush Levana?[4]

He can simply say the blessing of “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Haolam Mechadeish Chodashim.”

 

May Kiddush Levana be recited in other languages, such as English?

Kiddush Levana may be recited in any language that one understands.[5] Nevertheless, it is a Mitzvah Min Hamuvchar to recite it in Lashon Hakodesh.[6]

 

B. Wearing a Gartel:[7]

Those that are married are to wear a Gartel while reciting Kiddush Levana.

 

C. Standing:[8]

Kiddush Levana is recited in a standing position. [If one is unable to stand he may lean on another person, or on a cane.[9]]

 

D. Straight feet:[10]

One is to recite Kiddush Levana with his feet straightened together.

 

E. Facing east:[11]

One is to face East [i.e. Jerusalem] upon saying Kiddush Levana, rather than facing the moon.[12] [Nevertheless, it is evident from the Poskim that many were accustomed to face the moon.[13] The Rebbe always faced East upon saying Kiddush Levana.[14]]

 

F. Looking at moon:[15]

Prior to beginning the blessing of “Mechadeish Chadashim” one is to lift his eyes[16] [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.[17]

 

Q&A

If one said Kiddush Levana without looking at the moon beforehand, does he fulfill his obligation?[18]

Yes, he fulfills his obligation.

 

G. Lifting the feet:[19]

One is to lift his feet[20] three times opposite the moon and recite “Baruch Oseich[21]…Tipol”.[22] 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].[23] [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.[24]]

 

H. Shaking the Tzitzis:[25]

After the conclusion of Kiddush Levana [after Aleinu and Kaddish Yasom] one is to shake the corners of his Tallis Katan.[26]

 

Reciting Kiddush Levana slowly with concentration:[27]

One is to recite each word of Kiddush Levana slowly and properly, as one is accepting the face of the Shechina with this recital.

 

Q&A

May one make an interval while reciting Kiddush Levana?

Outside of the blessing of Michadesh Chodoshim: One may make an interval during the recital of Kiddush Levana if he is holding prior to, or after, the blessing paragraph of Mechadeish Chadashim. He is thus to answer Amen and Baruch Hu Uvrachu Shemo to all blessings that he hears.

During the blessing of Michadesh Chadashim:[28] If one is holding in midst of the paragraph of the blessing of Michadeish Chadashim then the following is the law regarding an interval: If one did not yet recite the words “Uveruach Piv Kol Tzevaam”, then he is not to make any interval, even to answer to Amen of Kaddish. If he already recited the words after “Uveruach Piv Kol Tzevaam”[29], then the law follows the same law as one who is in the midst of Shema. Thus, he may interrupt the blessing in order to answer Kaddish, Kedusha or Barchu.[30] If one has already reached G-d’s name in the closing blessing, then he must finish the blessing and may not interrupt. If one stopped to answer directly prior to saying the closing blessing of Baruch, then one needs to repeat a few words prior to saying the closing blessing.[31]

 

May one answer Aleichem Shalom to one who asked Shalom Aleichem, if he is in midst of the blessing of Michadesh Chodashim?[32]

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] 426/2

[2] Machatzis Hashekel 100; Sefer Haminhagim p. 126 [English] regarding Motzei Yom Kippur; See Admur 100/1

[3] The reason: As one is not used to saying the Nusach often, as one can go even thirty days without saying it. It hence must either be said in a Siddur or be prepared beforehand. Those people who say Kiddush Levana by heart and don’t prepare it beforehand are to be protested. [Machatzis Hashekel ibid]

[4] Birkeiy Yosef 426; Biur Halacha 426/1 “Asher” based on Sanhedrin 42a that Bedieved one is Yotzei if he said this Nussach

[5] Admur 185/2 that according to all opinions, all blessings may be recited in a language that one understands and not just in Hebrew. If one does not understand the language, then it is disputed as to whether it may be recited in that language.

[6] Bach 193 “Uma Shekasav”; See Admur 185/1 that according to the second opinion there is an advantage of Lashon Hakodesh over all other languages, that even one who does not understand is Yotzei.

[7] Sefer Haminhagim p. 126 [English] regarding Motzei Yom Kippur

[8] Rama 426/2; Tur

[9] Biur Halacha 426/2; “Umivareich Meumad”

[10] Michaber 426/2 “Miyasheir Raglav”; Tur in name of Miseches Sofrim

[11] Yesod Veshoresh Havoda 9; Levushei Mordechai 117 in name of Birchas Habayis in explanation of why this is the custom of some; Likkut Dinei Rosh Chodesh 12 footnote 68

[12] The reason: So it does not appear like one is praying to the moon. [Levushei Mordechai ibid]

[13] See Levushei Mordechai ibid who clearly implies this was the custom of many, based on the Michaber 426/2 who rules that one is to look at the moon when saying Kidddush Levana.

[14] Rabbi Leibal Groner, in correspondence with the Author

[15] Siddur Admur; M”A 426/8 in name of the Shlah rules that one looks at the moon one time and after that it is forbidden to look at the moon any longer; The Chida in Moreh Baetzba 6/186 concludes likewise that one is only to look at the moon one time prior to the blessing, as according to Kabala it is forbidden to look at the moon.

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule that one should look at the moon until he finishes the entire prayer of Kiddush Levana and that so is the custom. [Keneses Hagdolah 426] Other Poskim rule to look at the moon only until the end of the blessing of Michadeish Chadashim, and afterwards it is forbidden to look at it just like it is forbidden to look at a rainbow. [Kneses Hagedola ibid in name of the author of Sefer Chareidim]

[16] Lit. Tole Eiynav [Michaber ibid]

[17] The reason: As according to Kabala it is forbidden to look at the moon. [Chida ibid] This is similar to the prohibition of looking at a rainbow. [Kneses Hagedola ibid in name of the author of Sefer Chareidim]

[18] Shevet Halevi 5/128

[19] Rama ibid; Siddur Admur

[20] In the Rama the wording is to dance, which implies lifting the feet from the ground. In however Mishnas Chassidim it states to skip, and so writes Admur in Siddur. [See Shaar Hakolel 33/4] 

[21] So writes Admur, as is the ruling of Mishnas Chassidim, that the three skips are to be done before the words of Baruch Oseich. However the Rama writes it is done before the words Ksheim Sheani. [See Shaar Hakolel 33/4]

[22] The reason: This is done as an omen of joy, as since Kiddush Levana is similar to accepting the Shechina one is to rejoice when saying it. In the Siddur Rashash he brings a Kabalistic reason for the above dance. [Levush brought in Kaf Hachaim 426/38] According to Kabala, this is done in order to save the worlds from the Kelipos. Between each world there is a skipping of a level, therefore we dance three times. [Shaar Hakolel 33/5]

[23] Siddur Admur

[24] M”A 426/9 in name of Shlah and so is implied from Admur

[25] Siddur of Admur; M”A 426/11 in name of Kesavim [Arizal]

[26] The reason: This is done in order to banish the Chitzonim which have been created from the prosecution of the moon. [Kaf Hachaim 426/48; See Har Tzevi 1/12 and Likkut Dinei Rosh Chodesh 12 footnote 82 regarding why specifically the Tallis Katan is shaken]

What is one to shake? The M”A ibid writes one is to shake the end of his clothing, and does not mention specifically the Tallis Katan. Admur in the Siddur writes one is to shake the bottom of his Tallis Katan, but does not mention shaking the corners. The Shaar Hakolel 33/12 adds from the Peri Eitz Chaim that the custom of the Arizal was to shake the corners of the Tallis Katan.

[27] Moreh Baetzbah 187 brought in Kaf Hachaim 426/9

[28]  Kuntres Inyanei Tefila of Gra”ch Naah, printed in Yagdil Torah Tzemach Tzedek 17/16; See also Ketzos Hashulchan 5/11 for a similar ruling regarding the blessing of Asher Yatzar

[29] Such as he recited “Asher Yatzar Es Haadam”. This is required as otherwise it is considered as if he is in the middle of a one sentence blessing of which the law is that one may not make an interval. [See Ketzos Hashulchan ibid] Thus, if he did not yet say these words he is to say them and then answer.

[30] Ketzos Hashulchan ibid; See Admur 66/1-2; Chayeh Adam 5/13; Biur Halacha 66

[31] As one is required to say a few words that relate to the blessing, prior to concluding the blessing. [ibid; M”B 66/52]

[32]  Kuntrus Inyanei Tefila of Gra”ch Naah, printed in Yagdil Torah Tzemach Tzedek 17/16

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