[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living memoriam to Shaya through the sweet words and thoughtful insights of his Divrei Torah. BJL readers will remember his weekly column on the Parsha and on various Torah ideas and concepts. These meaningful words will help us remember this special young man who will be sorely missed and for those who did not merit to know him, this will be the most appropriate way for them to become familiar with who he was.
The Jewish people are compared to the moon. Just as the moon waxes and wanes, (depending on the moon's proximity to the sun), so too, we have our times of good fortune and happiness, as well as our times of being oppressed and subjugated, depending on our connection to Hashem.
Rav Yisroel Reisman asks, "why do we say Baruch Sheim out loud [i.e. that we are showing that we are like angels] on Yom Kippur night, after having eaten just an hour or two ago and are quite satiated; yet, on Motzai Yom Kippur, when we have just concluded Naeela, a full day of Kedusha, and we are still fasting, we don’t say Baruch Sheim out loud?
Rabbi Reisman explains that the reason lies within the direction we are going in. Yes, at the beginning of Yom Kippur, we may feel full, and feel like regular people, BUT we are heading in the right direction towards Tefila and Kedusha, towards a wonderful holy day. Therefore, we say Baruch Sheim out loud like the angels. Whereas on Motzai Yom Kippur, it is true we are still fasting, but we are diverting ourselves away from the Kedusha of Yom Kippur, and that is why we don’t say Baruch Sheim out loud.
With Rav Reisman’s thought, I think we can now understand the Halacha of Kiddush Levana as well. Even when the moon is hardly visible, we are allowed to say Kiddush Levana. Why?
When the moon grows larger, it is symbolic of our connection to Hashem. Whereas when the moon can easily be seen, even when it is mostly full, the Halacha is we cannot recite Kiddush Levana anymore. Why? Because it’s heading in the wrong direction, away from the sun, which symbolizes our distance from Hashem.
With this understanding, I think it makes a lot of sense why we wait until Motzai Yom Kippur to perform the Mitzva of Kiddush Levana. It symbolizes to us that although the holiness of Yom Kippur has ebbed away, in regards to the moon-which symbolizes our connection to Hashem, we are still heading up in the right direction. [Although the Mishna Berura gives a different reason as to why we wait to say Kiddush Levana till Motzai Yom Kippur, and therefore I can’t say for sure that the reason I suggested is an authentic reason for the Minhag, I think it is still something nice to keep in mind as we prepare to say Kiddush Levana for the very first time this year.]
Wishing everyone a Gemar Chasima Tova and a meaningful easy fast!