There is a Jewish tradition to bless the renewal of the moon once each month from three days after the new moon appears and before it reaches fullness. The full text of this outdoor ceremony, translated by Rabbi David Seidenberg, can be found here. Blessing the moon is called  Kiddush Levana (sanctification of the moon) in Ashkenazic tradition and Birkat Halevana (blessing the moon) in Sephardic tradition. Often it takes place on a Saturday night and has a celebratory air. The ritual, historically recited by men after synagogue evening prayers, has been adapted by some contemporary Jewish men’s groups (in a parallel to women’s Rosh Hodesh groups) as a time for men to gather for spiritual celebration and personal growth. A program of national and regional nature retreats to help men support one another in becoming mensches, “men of compassion, integrity, and spirit,” can be found here at Menschwork. 

Of course, like Rosh Hodesh, the ritual of Kiddush Levana can be meaningful to people of all genders. Here is the text of the main blessing (handy to have on your phone), with Rabbi Seidenberg’s translation. You are sure to find some echoes of the Midrash of the Moon:

 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם

Blessed be You YHVH Adonai, our God, ruler of all space and time

אֲשֶׁר בְּמַאֲמָרוֹ בָּרָא שְׁחָקִים, וּבְרוּחַ פִּיו כָּל צְבָאָם

who with God’s word created galaxies, and with the breath of God’s mouth all of their hosts

חֹק וּזְמַן נָתַן לָהֶם שֶׁלֹּא יְשַׁנּוּ אֶת תַּפְקִידָם

law and time God gave to them, so they would not change their course

שָֹשִֹים וּשְֹמֵחִים לַעֲשֹוֹת רְצוֹן קוֹנָם

joyful and happy to do the will of the One who possesses them,

פּוֹעֵל אֱמֶת, שֶׁפְּעֻלָּתוֹ אֱמֶת וְלַלְּבָנָה אָמַר שֶׁתִּתְחַדֵּשׁ

True Worker whose work is true. And God said to the moon levanah, “Renew yourself!”

עֲטֶרֶת תִּפְאֶרֶת לַעֲמוּסֵי בָטֶן

a crown of beauty to the womb-laden (or: those carried in the womb)

שֶׁהֵם עֲתִידִים לְהִתְחַדֵּשׁ כְּמוֹתָהּ, וּלְפָאֵר לְיוֹצְרָם

who are destined to renew themselves like her, and to glorify the One who formed them

עַל שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ:

by the name of glory of God’s kingdom.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה מְחַדֵּשׁ חֳדָשִׁים:

Blessed be You, YHVH Adonai, who makes new the renewing-moons m’chadesh chodashim!

 

 

Learn more here and here about the history and meaning of this ceremony.

Featured image: Moon in Winter_Moon Jaz via flicker

Learn about the Solar Eclipse as a spiritual experience, or return to the Gateway of the Moon.

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