A rare Kiddush Levana this Motzei Shabbos | Rabbi Moshe Flohr

As is well known, the time to begin saying Kiddush Levana depends on the time of the Molad. Based on when the Molad is, we wait a certain number of days before we may begin saying Kiddush Levana. How long to wait is a machlokes haPoskim. According to the Mechaber (based on the ARI za”l), one should wait until after 7 days from the Molad, however according to the Rema, one can begin saying Kiddush Levana after 3 days from the Molad.

This month, IYAR, the Molad was Wednesday night, 10:58 AM and 12 chalakim.

Accordingly, the time of THREE complete days from the Molad will only occur at Motzoei Shabbos after 10:58 PM and 12 chalakim. HOWEVER, the time of the Molad is according to the time in ERETZ YISROEL. Therefore the time of “three complete days” in America is SEVEN HOURS EARLIER, at 3:58 PM and 10 chalakim on Shabbos afternoon.

Based on that, those following the shita of the Rema can say Kiddush Levana on Motzoei Shabbos, immediately after Tzais HaKochavim. (Weather permitting.)


The reason this is unique is that we will be saying Kiddush Levana on the night following the FIRST DAY of the month. In most cases, the first night to say is either on the night of the THIRD DAY of the month or on the night following the third day (the night of the FOURTH day).

The last time this occurred was 12 years ago, February 6 2008, the month of Adar Alef 5768. The next time this will occur will be in SEVEN years, May 6 2027, for the month of Iyar 5787.

NOTE: It is not clear at this time if we will be able to actually see the Levana this Motzoei Shabbos. According to some reports the moon will be visible right after Shabbos for about an hour. Other forecasts say it will be cloudy or rainy.

As mentioned last month, saying Kiddush Levana is a powerful Mitzva which is brought in seforim as a special opportunity that protects those who say it from any harm in that month.

_ _ _ _ _ _


The time of the Molad is generally announced in Shul before we say the Tefilla for Kiddush haChodesh. Based on that time, we calculate either 3 or 7 days, and after that we say Kiddush Levana. In most cases the Molad is a day before Rosh Chodesh (the 29th or 30th day of the old month) or on Rosh Chodesh itself (the first day of the new month), so that the first time to say Kiddush Levana is the night following the third (or seventh) day or the night of the third (or seventh) day of the month itself. However there are times when the Molad is more than a day and a half BEFORE Rosh Chodesh. This is because of something called “Molad Zakein” (“old Molad”).

Molad Zakein is something infrequent (for reasons that we will not write about now) and refers to a situation where the day of the Molad is TWO days before Rosh Chodesh. In such a case the Molad comes out on the 28th of the old month.

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    • It hasn’t been fixed. Still says AM.

      Also it says in America it is 7 hours earlier than the announced molad. This is inaccurate for a number of reasons:
      1. America includes at least 5 time zones. Here on the west coast it is 10 hours earlier.
      2. Due to DST it is only about 6 hours on the east coast in the summer.
      3. Due to differences between solar time vs. standard time it’s about 20 minutes off our standard time.

  1. There is nothing in the Poskim about saying Kiddush Levana starting the 3rd day of the month.
    All it says is starting to say after three full days FROM THE MOLAD. see siman 426

  2. Your post might be misleading.
    Molad Zakein only applies for being kovea the day of Rosh Hashana, not for the Roshei Chodoshim the rest of the year.

  3. Thank you very much.

    Since the Molad is based on a clock which is set to noon when the sun is directly over Yerushalayim, the actual time of the Molad in Jerusalem Standard Time would be 21 minutes later. (The sun is directly over Yerushalayim 21 minutes before noon on the clock, under standard time.) Rabbi Premock zt”l would call the clock used for the Molad, “Jerusalem Solar Time”.
    So that 21 minute adjustment would have to be made by people in Yerushalayim. Here in NY/NJ we would additionally have to adjust by the 7 hour time zone differnce between us and Yerushalaim, as you wrote.

    But that would only be true during Standard Time. During Daylight Savings Time both NY/NJ and Yerushalayim would have to adjust by an hour because the sun does not change just because we change our clocks. Therefore, during DST (which we are in now) Yerushalayim would have to subtract an hour (so their “clock” time of the Molad would be 39 minutes later than the announced Molad) and our NY/NJ “clock” time for when the Molad is would be 6 hours and 21 earlier than the announced Molad time.

    None of this changes the fact that we can say Kiddush Levana her in NY/NJ right after Shabbos this week.

    And every month this year since the beginning of Teves and through at least Cheshvan will have the Molad 2 days before Rosh Chodesh.

  4. Corrections and Clarifications:

    — You are correct, the Mechaber is not saying to wait 7 days based on the ARI za”l. Rather it is based on a tshuvo from the renowned mekubal Rav Yosef MiGiktilia (author of Sharei Orah) as brought down in the Bais Yosef at the end of Siman 426.

    — RE: Molad Zakein. Yes, Molad Zakein is only created because of a need to change the day that Rosh Hashana will come out. This is accomplished by having Cheshvan AND Kislev before the upcoming Rosh Hashana to be maleh (full 30 days). The end result though is that every month following that the molad will be “zakein” since there is an added day.

    — Correct, the Mishna Brura writes in se’if katan 20 that most achronim hold that it can be said after 3 days. The question remains if it needs to be 3 “full” days or not. It is generally understood that it needs to be 3 days “meis l’eis” but some achronim disagree and hold it can be said if there is a strong light coming from the moon.
    Also can be noted that the RAMAH on Sanhedrin holds that it can be said from the FIRST day and on.

  5. RE: Comment from “Pinny”

    I did not want to write something that would confuse people so I did not mention anything about adjusting for Daylight Saving Time. Similarly, I deliberately left out the issue of the “21 minutes” (known as “Cairo time”) to keep the matter simple.

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