Monday, July 10, 2017

Blessing the new moon...

"From now on, this month will be the first month of the year
 for you. Announce to the whole community of Israel that on
 the tenth day of this month each family must choose a
lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each
household." Exodus 12:2-3 (NLT)
       Kiddush Levanah (Hebrew: קידוש לבנה; trans. Sanctification of the Moon) is a Jewish ritual, performed outside at night, in which a series of prayers are recited to bless the new moon.
       The source of the Kiddush Levana is in the Babylonian Talmud, (Sanhedrin 42a), Rabbi Yochanan taught that one who blesses the new moon, in its proper time, is regarded like one who greets the Shechinah (Divine Presence), as it is written in Exodus 12:2:, "This month (is to be for you the beginning of months..)”
       This verse in Exodus 12:2 is the source of what is considered to be the first commandment in the Torah, which is to sanctify the new month, and is based on the lunar calendar. Although Kiddush levana is not the method of sanctifying the new month, we may be able to understand Rabbi Yochanan's opinion that one who ‘blesses the new moon’, is also showing respect to the first commandment in the Torah, and therefore it is like greeting the Shechinah (Divine Presence).
       Many synagogues post the text of the prayer in large type on an outside wall. Read more...

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