Every month we make a bracha on the new moon. In many siddurim where the bracha and nusach is featured it's called "Kiddush Lavana". If one looks in the poskim (See Rema Orach Chaim SIman 426 Sif 1, 2, 4) it's also written "kiddush levana (See also Shaarei Teshuva Siman 692 Sif-Katan 2 and Mishnah Brurah Siman 100 Sif-Katan 2 and other poskim and seforim including the Shelah) that write "kiddush lavana".)

What "kiddush" (or "sancitification") are we making on the moon? The nusach of the bracha (according to the Gemara in Sanhedrin Daf 42) is "m'chadash chadashim" as it appears in the siddur as well. We are making a bracha that which HaShem gives us a new moon each month. "M'chadash" (makes new) "chadashim" (the months or another word that used to refer to the moon.)

What "kiddush" is happening? Why is that loshon used in the poskim, seforim, and siddurim?

  • See SA OC 426, in rema 2 times he wrote kidush Hachodesh. the term kidush Hachodesh is known, and is obviously a Kidush, the B.D says Mekudash 3 X. but here it is very strange because Birkat Halevana is not a Kidus Hachodesh. – kouty Mar 23 '16 at 0:36
  • Good question. Slight technicality, though. The New Moon is not visible, so technically, you can't ever bless the New Moon. Nonetheless, I suspect that it is probably related, in some way, to the original "Kiddush Hachodesh" done by the Sanhedrin way back then. But, I think you want to see how the language of the tefillah accomplishes this. I also, have to study @kouty's comment, above, who implies otherwise. Can you provide support for your statement, kouty? – DanF Mar 23 '16 at 14:27
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    @DanF well, the start of the new moon at least. The Gemara and Rambam say to make right away on Rosh Chodesh. The Shulchan Aruch comes along and paskens al pi kaballah like R' Yosef Gekatalia to wait 7 days (the makor of which is questionable and in Pri Eitz Chaim it says it Kiddush Lavana was made on Rosh Chodesh...) The Rema also goes away from the pashtus and says to wait 3 days... – Yehoshua Mar 23 '16 at 15:59
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    @GershonGold , I recommend that , when possible, you extract and translate ideas from the 1st and 2nd pages of your link. It looks like the answer is right there. It would bother me if I were doing that job, considering that you found this source. How DID you find this. I should browse around it, b/c the title of the sefer alone seems intriguing. – DanF Mar 24 '16 at 15:02
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    @DanF: I do not always have the time to extract and post the complete answer. If I posted only the link as an answer it would be rightly lambasted as an inadequate answer per MiYodeya rules. When I post a link without an answer I have no issue with someone else who has time going ahead and extrapolating and posting an answer from the link. If at a later time no one answered based on my link or from their own sources I may go ahead and post an answer from there. – Gershon Gold Mar 25 '16 at 0:16

The sefer Mekorei Minhagim (37), based on Shemos Rabbah (15, on the verse החודש הזה לכם), writes that the moon in this world is like an engagement gift, and therefore its blessing is called "Kiddush [Levanah]", from the term "Kiddushin" (marriage).

It has been suggested (in a sefer called "Kiddush Levanah", a compilation of all things to do with the subject, and where I found the above reasoning), that the idea of calling the blessing "Kiddush Levanah" is an Ashkenazi thing, while the Sephardi and Edut Mizrahi custom is to refer to it simply as "Birkat Halevanah".

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Sefer Si'ach Tefillah brings a Teshuvas Maharshag (3:5) who suggests that the reason is because originally the Beis Din would sanctify (Kiddush) the new month based on the testimony of two witnesses seeing the new moon, and so it continued to today to call the berachah "Kiddush Levanah" even though it has no connection to the original "Kiddush Hachodesh".

(Credit: Gershon Gold)

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  • So it's a mistake? I'm not sure I follow this. First you seem to try to connect the modern blessing with the ancient practice of sanctification, then you say it has no connection – Double AA Jun 8 '17 at 3:48
  • @DoubleAA It's not a mistake, just an extension from something slightly related (they both relate to the new moon) from the past. – Ploni Jun 8 '17 at 5:07
  • So it'd be like calling it ליקוי הלבנה since that also relates to the moon? What do you mean by "an extension from"? – Double AA Jun 8 '17 at 10:18
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    @DoubleAA You're taking a little too far IMHO. As I pointed out before, they both relate to the new moon, not just anything relating to the moon. As far as my usage of the phrase "an extension from", that's the best I could get for a translation for the word נשתרבב. – Ploni Jun 8 '17 at 14:53
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    @DoubleAA Do you have a better translation? – Ploni Jun 8 '17 at 14:57

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