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It's not so clear whether the function of kiddush levanah is meant to be a praise for the existence of the moon, or more similar to a birkas hanehenin (like the brachos on food), that we can't benefit from anything without first making a beracha, including moonlight. Regarding whether or not one has to see the moon: as the Biur Halakha points out, that if ...


Since the first question was answered already I will address the second one only. The Avnei Yashfei 3:50:3 writes that if one says kiddush levana alone there is no inyan to search out for someone to say shalom aleichem since he said the passuk Tipal aleiheim and no one heard him(see @simchas Torah answer -Mattaeh Moshe reason).He adds by saying if one said ...

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