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What is Kiddush Levanah?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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Towards the beginning of every Jewish new month, we go outside, look at the new moon,1 and recite a special blessing. This ritual is called “Kiddush Levanah,” the Sanctification of the Moon. It is incumbent upon us to express gratitude to G-d for all the pleasures and conveniences which He grants us. Every month when once again the moon emits enough light for us to appreciate it, we thank G-d for giving us the moon which provides us with its beautiful soft light.2

Every month when once again the moon emits enough light for us to appreciate it, we thank G-d for giving us the moon which provides us with its beautiful soft light

Footnotes

  • 1. The Jewish calendar is based on the lunar cycle. Thus, at the very beginning of every Jewish month the visible moon is a mere speck which grows until it reaches its fullest state on (approximately) the 15th of the month. The moon then wanes until the end of the month when once again it is rejuvenated.
  • 2. There is also a special ceremony thanking G-d for the sun, its warmth and light. This ceremony is performed every 28 years when the sun returns to the exact position where it was when G-d originally sent it into orbit. This ceremony will next be performed in the spring of 2009.

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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.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.