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When is Kiddush Levanah recited?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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  • Kiddush Levanah can be recited as soon as three days have passed since the month’s molad.1 However, according to Kabbalah it is proper to wait until seven days have passed since the time of the molad before reciting the Kiddush Levanah.
    The Blessing of the Moon must be recited before fifteen days have passed since the molad. It is inappropriate to recite this blessing after the moon has already begun to wane. 
  • Kiddush Levanah must be recited after nightfall, at a time when the moon is fully visible, unobstructed by cloud cover.
  • Whenever possible, it is proper to recite Kiddush Levanah on Motzoei Shabbat (Saturday night), while still in a festive mood and while clad in Shabbat finery.2
  • Kiddush Levanah is not recited on Shabbat or holidays3 4 .

It is inappropriate to recite this blessing after the moon has already begun to wane

Footnotes

  • 1. Go to http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=216238 to find the exact molad for any month. (Bear in mind that the molad times provided on this web page are for Jerusalem. Adjust the hours according to your location.)
  • 2. The two exceptions to this rule are the months of Tishrei and Av, when Kiddush Levanah is customarily recited on the nights following Yom Kippur and Tisha b’Av.
  • 3. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Abridged Code of Jewish Law) chapter 97 paragraph 12
  • 4. If the moon was not visible during the week, and Friday or Yom Tov night is the last opportunity to recite Kiddush Levanah it, one may do so then.

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Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
Kiddush
Prayer recited at the beginning of the Sabbath or Holiday meal--both the evening and afternoon meals. This prayer, acknowledging the sanctity of the day, is recited over a cup of wine or grape juice.