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Why do we say Shalom Aliechem in Kiddush Levanah? And what should one do if there are no other people around (or not enough people around)?

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  • What if you have one other person, do you say it three times or just once?
    – Seth J
    Jul 31, 2012 at 14:26
  • 2
    @SethJ When my rebbi had to say KL, he took me outside and said shalom aleichem to me thrice.
    – YDK
    Jul 31, 2012 at 15:14
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/8196/…
    – Menachem
    Jul 31, 2012 at 22:35

3 Answers 3

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The Original sorce for this Minhag is a Maseches Sofrim.

ואומר לחברו שלש פעמים שלום, וילך לביתו בלב טוב

The reasons given are:

  • The Mahril based on the Gemara in Sanhedrin 42A says since it is such a great Mitzvah it is as if we are greeting the Shechina.Therfore when we say Shalom Aleichem we are in a sense greeting the Shechina.
  • Matteh Moshe(540) adds to his Rebbi's reasoning that after wishing bad upon our enemies we are telling Hashem that these people are not included among those whose downfall we seek.
  • A third reason given is just like after making a Bracha (blessing) on food, we partake of it so to here after we make a Bracha on the moon we partake of it by use its light to identify a friend.

In response to what to do if there is not enough people around the Mateh Moshe says you greet one person three times. The Rebbe of the Mahril say that if you have three people you say to one friend twice ‘Shalom Aleichem’ and to the other once.

Summarized from:

1) http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%207%20Ron.pdf

2) http://ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/140/Q1/

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  • Anything on the second part of the question: What to do if no one's around?
    – yydl
    Jun 20, 2010 at 23:31
  • 1
    You can tell everyone made Kiddush levanah
    – Ishyehudi
    Jun 21, 2010 at 14:37
  • I once observed an Odom Godol (at the Kosel) say "Sholom Aleichem Aleichem Sholom" x3 to himself, or to nobody in particular. That would only make sense according to the first, and possibly second reasons.
    – user146
    Jun 21, 2010 at 14:44
  • WHO is the adam godol ? Jun 21, 2010 at 22:43
  • Sorry, I am not comfortable saying. But I can sat that he is a Ben Shivim, and has been a Rosh Yeshiva for decades, and has hundreds (thousands?) of talmidim, va'ani besocham.
    – user146
    Jun 22, 2010 at 18:33
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You wouldn't say it on your own, but you can say it after Kiddush Levana to the first three people you meet. (I was advised this in my youth.)

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  • Would you mind including in your answer the identity of your adviser?
    – msh210
    Jul 31, 2012 at 15:12
  • @msh210, I don't think that's strictly necessary.
    – Seth J
    Jul 31, 2012 at 15:28
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    @SethJ, I agree completely. It'd be more informative, though.
    – msh210
    Jul 31, 2012 at 15:43
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    If I recall correctly. it was casual, passing advice from a *madrich*/counsellor whose name I have forgotten. Aug 1, 2012 at 5:54
  • Administrative note: This was posted as an answer to another question and moved hither.
    – msh210
    Aug 1, 2012 at 18:56
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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 it with a tzibbur even though he said that passuk quietly ,the fact that the tzibbur knows he says the passuk he still should say shalom aliechem.

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    In this situation I usually leave "שלום עליכם" in my gchat status until I get three responses. I admit it's more for fun than anything else
    – Double AA
    Jul 3, 2014 at 5:09

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