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I have a vague memory of being told not to gaze at the moon through the glass of a window. I think it had something to do with kabbalah. I know it's permitted to say kiddush levanah by looking at the moon through the glass of a window if one has no other option, but I am wondering if anyone knows anything about a kabbalah-based minhag against gazing at the moon through a window?

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    Shemmy, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for this interesting question! Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. – Isaac Moses Mar 5 '12 at 18:51
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    @DoubleAA why shouldn't one look at the moon? – Shmuel Brin Mar 5 '12 at 18:51
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    @Vram I always thought that we don't look at the moon because it get's "embarrased" that it is so small compared to the moon (and presumable also because of its actions that warranted its size). This reason applies always. – Double AA Mar 5 '12 at 20:21
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    Although I didn't see it in the Mishna Berura, my understanding is that we don't look at the moon during kiddush levana, so that people don't think we're praying to the moon (The M"B says this explicitly about bowing a little later on). If so, this would explain why only by Kiddush Levanah we are told not to look at the moon (as opposed to the rest of the time). It would probably be useful to find the sources the M"B quotes and see what they actually say. @DoubleAA – Menachem Mar 5 '12 at 22:54
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    @Menachem Did just that! See what I found in my answer. – Double AA Mar 6 '12 at 2:14
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The Magen Avraham (OC 426 sk 8) quotes the Shelah (here) that one should not look at the moon during kiddush levana but rather glance at it in the beginning and look down. The Shelah references what he wrote earlier (here) where he quotes the book Shushan Sodot (bio?) that one should not look at the moon seemingly ever. The Shushan Sodot himself (here) quotes his teacher Rabbi Meir HaLevi as teaching a new law that has no source in Torah, Neviim or Midrash that compares looking at the moon to looking at a rainbow which is forbidden per the Gemara in Chagigah 16a and codified in Shulchan Aruch OC 229:1. He says that the moon represents the House of David and that when the moon is diminished it somehow represents a diminishing of some spiritual forces.

I admit I'm not really sure what's going on here, not being a kabbalist myself. It does at least seem that there is some kabbalistic reason for not looking at the moon even not during kiddush levana and even when not looking through windows.

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  • If we're saying looking at a rainbow and looking at the moon is the same thing, this would seem to indicate that when one does look at the moon for Kiddush Levanah, he should only do so briefly, like looking at the rainbow to say the blessing: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/10930/603 – Menachem Mar 6 '12 at 4:00
  • @Menachem That is indeed what the Magen Avraham that I quote in the begining says. – Double AA Mar 6 '12 at 4:02
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    This is so bizarre to me. How were witnesses supposed to testify about the new moon? – Baby Seal Dec 11 '16 at 21:41
  • @BabySeal Glance and look away, I suppose? – Double AA Dec 11 '16 at 22:17
  • @DoubleAA seems like a sure way to get a bunch of faulty witnesses, but I guess. – Baby Seal Dec 12 '16 at 0:42
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http://www.dailyhalacha.com/m/halacha.aspx?id=1351

Optimally, one should recite Birkat Ha'levana outdoors, rather than while looking at the moon through a window indoors. This Halacha, stems from the notion that one greets the Shechina when reciting this Beracha, thus requiring that one leave his building to go greet the Almighty.

For Kiddush Levana there is a special reason why one should not do it through a window, however there is no problem looking at the moon through a window at any other time.

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    The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. – Double AA Mar 5 '12 at 21:40
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    Todah rabah to all who provided responses and sources. I posted the question because I've been unable to find any source for not looking at the moon through a window, but I am still bothered by this memory of being told not to do so. It could be that I am remembering having been told some sort of superstition. From the sources brought here, I think it's safe to say that even if there is an obscure custom or superstition for not looking at the moon through a window, there is no normative halachik issur against it. – Shemmy Mar 6 '12 at 2:27
  • @Shemmy you’re not the only, I have heard this before of not to look through the window for Kiddush Levana. It might be one of those things being taught at school just like we don’t shecht a giraffe because we don’t know where to Shecht. – Daniel Ross Apr 2 at 10:54

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