In the Light of the Slivery Moon
Where does the halacha for kiddush levana (blessing for the New Moon) come from and have there been any Torah authorities who were opposed to it? Also, why do we bless one another during the service with ‘shalom aleichem’?
The source for blessing the new moon comes from the Talmud (Sanhedrin 42a). To my knowledge, there have never been any Torah authorities that opposed it.
I assume that your question is based on the misconception that sanctifying the moon bears a resemblance to moon-worship. This is an absolute fallacy. We are not worshipping the moon; we are praising
Additionally, we see the monthly rebirth of the moon as a symbol of
It is for this reason that in the course of kiddush levanah, we pray for the downfall of the enemies of the Jewish People. In particular, we quote the verse from the ‘Song at the Red Sea’: “May dread and fear befall them, they should be silent like stone...”. Since this verse does not specify who “them” refers to, we therefore turn to the people standing nearby and say “Shalom Aleichem” to show that they are not included among those whose downfall we seek.
Another explanation for blessing others at that time is as follows: After you say a blessing on an apple, you take a bite of the apple. So too, after blessing
Perhaps both ideas are connected: After praying for the ‘dis-empowering’ of our enemies, we untangle the tzitzit as if to show our anticipation of the day we shall no longer be entangled and tied down by our foes but rather shall be liberated and unfettered to fulfill the mitzvot in the full light of
- Rema, Orach Chaim 426:2
- Magen Avraham 426:11
- Megilla 3a and Tosafot “Chayshinan”