By Rabbi Moshe Flohr
About two months ago (right before Rosh Chodesh IYAR) I wrote about the unique occurrence (once in about 20 years) of Kiddush Levana being able to be said on the night following the first day of the month AND on a Motzoei Shabbos. (NOTE: This is according to those who say Kiddush Levana after 3 days from the Molad.)
What was unique was the fact that this would happen on a Motzoei Shabbos. However, some people misread what I wrote and contacted me to state that this is not that uncommon.
In fact it would happen twice more in the next few months (i.e. for this month, Tammuz and for Elul). What they missed was not that Kiddush Levana could be said the night following the first day of the month rather that this happened also on Motzoei Shabbos.
To briefly explain:
Rosh Chodesh generally is on the day of the Molad. However there are a number of exceptions. One of these is if the Molad occurs after 12 pm. Then Rosh Chodesh is moved to the next day. We also have another rule that Rosh Hashana cannot fall out on Sunday, Wednesday or Friday (Lo Adu Rosh). Now the Molad of the upcoming Rosh Hashana (5781) occurs on a Thursday after 2 pm. We therefore need to push off Rosh Hashana until Friday. However it cannot be on Friday so therefore it comes out on Shabbos.
In order for us to “push off” Rosh Hashana we need to add a day to one of the months BEFORE the upcoming Rosh Hashana. The only month that we can “add” a day to is the month of Cheshvan. (Cheshvan is usually 29 days but if needed can be 30 days.) So from Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5780 and on every Molad was at least a day before Rosh Chodesh. This will continue until Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5781.
So when Rosh Chodesh is two days (Teves, Adar, Iyar, Tammuz, Elul) then the night following “Alef” (the night after the second day of Rosh Chodesh) will be at least 3 days from the Molad and you could say Kiddush Levana then (unless it was Friday night).
SO TONIGHT, THOSE WHO WAIT THREE (3) DAYS CAN SAY KIDDUSH LEVANA
« Saying it before “Zayin” (even if your minhag is to wait until “Zayin”)
Normally those who wait until after 7 days from the Molad say Kiddush Levana the night of the 8th of the month. This Shabbos is 5 Tammuz. However after 6:05 pm and 14 Chalakim (on Shabbos) it will be 7 full days from the Molad and therefore Motzoei Shabbos you can say even though according to the calendar it is only the night of 6 Tammuz.
« The last night to say this month will be the night after the “12th”
While this month we can say Kiddush Levana “earlier” than we usually do, the last night to say it is also earlier. As the Molad came out on Shabbos approximately 6 pm, the last time to say will be sometime Sunday during the day. Which means that the last night to say this month will be on Motzoei Shabbos Chukas-Balak, the night following the 12th of the month. This is about 2-3 days before we usually have the “last night.”