By 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.)
WHY IT IS UNIQUE
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.
SOME EXTRA EXPLANATION:
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.