In many Ashkenazi sidurim (e.g. Artscroll and the Sidur Vilna), kidush l'vana concludes with a supplication that the greatness of the moon be restored, and that the Jewish people merit the restoration of Davidic reign. In modern sidurim that I've seen, the formulation is as follows:

ויהי רצון מלפניך ה' א-להי וא-להי אבותי למלאות פגימת הלבנה... ויתקים בנו מקרא שכתוב ובקשו את ה' א-להיהם ואת דויד מלכם (הושע ג:ה) אמן

Rough translation:

And may it be Your will, HaShem my G-d and the G-d of my forefathers, to replenish the moon from its deficiency… and may the verse be fulfilled through us (Hoshe'a' 3:5): "And they shall seek HaShem their G-d and David their king." Amen.

This formulation can be traced back at least to R' Meir ibn Gabai (Tola'as Ya'akov, ברכת הלבנה, c. 1506), though he does not use precisely the same nusach and he does not specify mentioning either א-להי ("my G-d", which would seem to connote a personal aspect to the prayer) or א-להינו ("our G-d", which would seem to suggest a communal aspect).

However, the modern formulation specifically mentions א-להי וא-להי אבותי ("my G-d and the G-d of my forefathers"), thus apparently connoting a personal aspect to the prayer.1 However, the context of the prayer seems communal or universal rather than personal.2

My questions are:

  • How did the current formulation (including "א-להי וא-להי אבותי") develop and become the standard nusach for Ashkenazim?

  • Is there a particular reason why this formulation includes the words "א-להי וא-להי אבותי" rather than "א-להינו וא-להי אבותינו"?

1 See Y'rushalmi (B'rachos 33a) for examples of supplications by individual sages, some of which seem to be supplications for the community and still use singular language (also some use plural language). In contrast, see the Bavli (B'rachos 16b-17a) where only the plural is used for communal supplications (the two instances of the singular form are unarguably prayers on behalf of individuals). Per B'rachos 29b-30a, " אמר אביי לעולם לישתף איניש נפשיה בהדי צבורא", one might speculate that some of the supplications mentioned in plural form in the Y'rushalmi (though nevertheless using "א-להי") are primarily meant as personal prayers. Note, though, that this principle of Abaye's is the basis for his ruling that even a lone traveler should recite T'filas HaDerech in the plural, with א-להי specifically changed to א-להינו, among other changes (Shulchan 'Aruch OC 110:4, see also Mishna B'rura 110:20 that this extends to any prayer that was instituted with a plural/communal formulation, though note the dispute over the appropriate form for 'Aneinu during an individual's fast Mishna B'rura 565:5). See also Shulchan 'Aruch OC 119:1.

2 The Chasam Sofer (Chulin 60a) mentions that, although HaShem will repair the deficiency of the moon in the future, He made that restoration dependent on our deeds. Since our sins delay the messianic era and the restoration of the moon, HaShem commanded us to offer the chatas sacrifice of Rosh Chodesh (see Sh'vu'os 9a, דאמר ר"ל... אמר הקב"ה שעיר זה יהא כפרה על שמיעטתי את הירח). Perhaps, then, the prayer after kidush l'vana may be a disguised request for HaShem to help each individual repent from our sins and seek out HaShem and the Davidic kingdom (as in the above mentioned verse from Hoshe'a'). Even so, the se'ir of Rosh Chodesh is a communal offering, and Hoshe'a' 3:5 is written in the plural, suggesting that, even as a supplication for repentance, this prayer appears to have more of a communal aspect than a personal one.

  • Simular: Maharatz Chayus, Rosh Hashana 25a – Dr. Shmuel Feb 11 at 6:03

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