Latest Kiddush Levana Time – Location, Location, Location

The full moon visible from Jerusalem’s Inbal hotel sukkah.

In the previously published Zmanim For Kiddush Levana Before Shavuos 5778 article, we demonstrated how location plays a key role in the earliest time one can recite Kiddush Levana / קידוש לבנה. This article will focus on the Sof Zman Kiddush Levana, or the latest that one can recite Kiddush Levana. In the past we posted the technical Calculating Kiddush Levana Times Using the Zmanim API post, with a simple example of using the KosherJava Zmanim API to calculate Kiddush Levana. Here is a slightly more complex example.
The Bach on the Tur Hilchos Kiddush Hachodesh (Orach Chayim תכ”ו 426) discusses not reciting Kiddush Levana on Yom Tov. He writes that in Tishrei 5390 (1629) there was cloud cover from Yom Kippur until the first night of Succos. The Bach who was the Rabbi in Kraków at that time (see the Be’er Haitev 426:5), writes that they said Kiddush Levana on the first night of Sukkos. This is right after he mentioned that it is our custom not to recite Kiddush Levana after halfway between molad and molad (following the Maharil and Rema, and not the Mechaber who allows a little extra time). Was tzais (the earliest time to recite Kiddush Levana), on the first night of Succos in Kraków that year (5390 / 1629) after the midpoint between molad and molad? Is the Bach saying that in this case bedieved you should still recite Kiddush Levana, or is he just saying that it can be said on Yom Tov when waiting until after Yom Tov will be too late?

The Impact of Calendar Dechiyos / דחיות

The day of the molad of Tishrei is the target day for the first day of Rosh Hashana. However, the Jewish calendar has four rules that delay the start of the Jewish year by a day or two (in a case of two delays combining), a subject that we will hopefully cover at some point – עוד חזון למועד. If not for these delays known as dechiyos that occur about 60% of all years, the 15th night of the month of Tishrei, would always be early enough to recite Kiddush Levanah. The average lunar month is a drop over 29 and a half days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 3.3 seconds), so the halfway point that is the end of the earlier time quoted by the Bach would be 14 days, 18 hours and 22 minutes after the molad. The calculation below shows that in the case of 15 Tishrei, 5390 (the evening of Oct 1, 1629), even the earlier zman for sof zman Kiddush Levana did not happen until the morning of the first day of Succos. The molad of Tishrei that year was about 2.5 hours before the day’s end. This resulted in a dechiya of Molad Zaken / מולד זקן. This delayed Rosh Hashanah by a day pushing it from Monday to Tuesday. There was no dechiya of Lo ADU Rosh / לא אד״ו ראש, so the delay was not as long as it could have been (had there been a combination of the two dechiyos). Sunset on the first night of Sukkos that year in Krakow was at 5:18 pm (using standard time), and the moon rose at 5:54 pm, so they were able to recite Kiddush Levana that night.

Despite dechiyos, the time of tzais in Krakow is before sof zman Kiddush Levana on the the first night of Succos approximately 73% of the time, making the ability to recite Kiddush Levanah on the first night of Sukkos for the longitude of Krakow (that is close to Yerushalayim) more common than not. As you will see below, the farther west you go, the less likely it is to happen.

Sof Zman Kiddus Levana Around the World

Being that Sof Zman Kiddush Levana is a fixed time globally, and can’t be said before local tzais, the farther west you are, the less of a probability you have of encountering a late Kiddush Levana. Conversely, the farther east you are, the greater your probability is of encountering a late Kiddush Levana. The chart below was inspired by Rabbi Dovid Heber’s example in his sefer Shaarei Zmanim of the rare ability to recite Kiddush Levana on the 17th of the month in Anadyr, Russia. This town is at the far eastern portion of Russia, not far from the International Date Line. The chart shows the percentage of times that Sof Zman Kiddush Levana in Tishrei and the annual average for various places around the world occurs after tzais (calculated as 8.5°) on the 15th, 16th and 17th of the month.

15th – ט״ו16th – ט״ז17th – י״ז
LocationתשריAllתשריAllתשריAll
Anadyr, Russia91%57%46%18%N/A0.2%
Sydney, Australia88%73%42%21%N/AN/A
Yerushalayim75%57%24%8%N/AN/A
Krakow, Poland73%55%22%7%N/AN/A
Lakewood, NJ62%41%8%1.6%N/AN/A
Los Angeles, CA56%35%3%0.7%N/AN/A
Kurima Island, Japan
(Chazon Ish)
39%18%N/AN/AN/AN/A

Molad Calculation Code Sample

The code below shows rudimentary use of the Jewish Calendar functionality and molad retrieval for the historical date of the Bach’s 1629 Sukkos night kiddush levanah.

int month = JewishDate.TISHREI;
int year = 5390;
JewishDate erevSukkos = new JewishDate(year, JewishDate.TISHREI, 14);
JewishDate molad = JewishDate.getMolad(year, month);
Date tchilas3Days = JewishCalendar.getTchilasZmanKidushLevanah3Days(year, month);
Date tchilas7Days = JewishCalendar.getTchilasZmanKidushLevanah7Days(year, month);
Date sofZmanBetweenMoldos = JewishCalendar.getSofZmanKidushLevanahBetweenMoldos(year, month);
Date sofZmanKidushLevanah15Days = JewishCalendar.getSofZmanKidushLevanah15Days(year, month);
TimeZone krakowTZ = TimeZone.getTimeZone("Europe/Warsaw");
SimpleDateFormat sdf = new SimpleDateFormat("MMM dd, yyyy 'at' HH:mm:ss z");
SimpleDateFormat dayFormat = new SimpleDateFormat("MMM dd, yyyy");
sdf.setTimeZone(krakowTZ);
System.out.println("Molad: " + molad + " / " + dayFormat.format(molad.getTime()) + ", day of week: "
		+ molad.getDayOfWeek() + ", Hours: " + molad.getMoladHours() + ", minutes: " + molad.getMoladMinutes()
		+ ", Chalakim: " + molad.getMoladChalakim());
System.out.println("Tchilas Zman Kidush Levanah 3 Days: " + sdf.format(tchilas3Days));
System.out.println("Tchilas Zman Kidush Levanah 7 Days: " + sdf.format(tchilas7Days));
System.out.println("Erev Succos: " + erevSukkos + " / " + dayFormat.format(erevSukkos.getTime()));
System.out.println("Sof Zman KidushLevanah Between Moldos: " + sdf.format(sofZmanBetweenMoldos));
System.out.println("Sof Zman Kidush Levanah 15 Days: " + sdf.format(sofZmanKidushLevanah15Days));

The output in Central European Time (CET) is:

Molad: 29 Elul, 5389 / Sep 17, 1629, day of week: 2, Hours: 15,
        minutes: 46, Chalakim: 5
Tchilas Zman Kidush Levanah 3 Days: Sep 20, 1629 at 14:25:19 CET
Tchilas Zman Kidush Levanah 7 Days: Sep 24, 1629 at 14:25:19 CET
Erev Succos: 14 Tishrei, 5390 / Oct 01, 1629
Sof Zman KidushLevanah Between Moldos: Oct 02, 1629 at 08:47:21 CET
Sof Zman Kidush Levanah 15 Days: Oct 02, 1629 at 14:25:19 CET

Odds & Ends

While Tishrei has much higher odds than most months for a late Sof Zman Kiddush Levana, Shevat is very close to Tishrei, and sometimes exceeds it. Cheshvan and Kislev are the only variable length Jewish months. In a chaser (Deficient / short) year they will both have the short month length of 29 days. The months of Cheshvan and Kislev are followed by Teves that is always 29 days. With the possibility of three 29 day months in a row, and being in the winter with early Tzais times, the month of Shevat is the most likely to have a very late sof zman Kiddush Levana, as pointed out by Rabbi Heber in his Shaarei Zmanim.

The reason that Anadyr only has a 57% chance of being able to recite Kiddush Levana year-round on the 15th VS 73% in Sydney, even though Anadyr is 3% more likely to have Kiddush levana on the 15th of Tishrei, is due to the high latitude of Anadyr (64.7° N) that results in 25.4% of the months not having tzais on the 15th.

The closest case to almost not being able to recite Kiddush levanah on the 15th of Tishrei without dechiyos would be in a location immediately to the east of the Chazon Ish dateline such as Kurima Island on a year when the molad was exactly at sunset in Yerushalayim and the true opposition (full moon) was much earlier than the average opposition, causing the moon to rise after sof zman kidush levana. Calculations show that this would never actually happen on Sukkos though it is likely to occur on Pesach since the molad of Nisan is much more likely to be before Rosh Chodesh.

Zmanim For Kiddush Levana Before Shavuos 5778

Crescent_MoonRarely do you find Zmanim that are days apart based on your location, but this year, that is exactly what will happen. With Shavuos falling on a Sunday and Monday, we end up with a “3 day Yom Tov” that impacts the earliest time / zman that Kiddush Levana can be said (for those who say it 3 days after the molad). With the minhag that Kiddush Levana is not said on Shabbos or Yom Tov, there is only a small chance to say Kiddush Levana on Thursday night based on your location. The molad for the month of Sivan was at 6:00:23 am in Yerushalayim (5:21 am and 6 chalakim local mean time using the traditional calculation) on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, Tuesday May 15. This results in Techilas zman kiddush levana 3 days later at 6:00:23 am Friday morning May 18. This is well after the moon sets, and actually after the sun rises. It can’t be said on Friday night, or Motzai Shabbos since it is Yom Tov. The earliest it can be said in Israel is on Sunday night. Much farther west in NY or Lakewood, NJ, where 2 days of Yom Tov are observed you get close to being able to say it on Thursday night, but not close enough. Kiddush Lavena could theoretically be said at 11:00 pm Thursday night, but by that time, the moon will already set (at 10:38 pm in Lakewood, and at 10:39 pm in Brooklyn, NY) and you end up having to wait until Monday night to say Kiddush Levana. From 11:00 pm on Monday night, even those who do not recite Kiddush Levana until 7 days after the molad can say it (moonset is at 1:20 am). Traveling farther west to Cleveland, OH with a moon set of 11:14 pm would seem to allow Kiddush Levana to be said on Thursday night. However with the moon this close to the horizon, it would be almost impossible to see the moon and say Kiddush Levana on Thursday night before the moon set. Going a little farther west, we hit the first locations that can say Kiddush Levana on Thursday night. Chicago (and other areas along their longitude) with a techilas zman Kiddush Levana of 10:00 pm and a moonset of 10:40 pm would likely be the first places in the world to say Kiddush Levana this year.
Thus, from Chicago to the west coast of the USA and Canada, Kiddush Levana can be said 3 days before Israel, and 4 days before Europe and eastern USA and Canada.

Zmanim API 1.3.0 Released

Zmanim API 1.3.0 ReleaseThe Zmanim API version 1.3.0 was released on March 4th, 2013 כ״א אדר תשע״ג. Various changes in the new release VS the previous version 1.2.1 that was released in May 2010 can be seen below. This release includes beta support for Jewish Calendar calculations as well as a number of updated zmanim and refactored code. The Jewish Calendar support in the Zmanim API is based on Avrom Finkelstien’s HebrewDate project released in 2002. Unlike the Zmanim code, the Jewish calendar interfaces may change significantly in the future (see Jay Gindin’s various changes that may make it into this API) and should therefore be considered beta.

Changes in the Zmanim API 1.3.0 release

Changes since March 23, 2011 have been in SVN and detailed changes can be seen there.

Calculating Kiddush Levana Times Using the Zmanim API

Crescent MoonCalculating the earliest and latest times for Kiddush Levana has not been part of the KosherJava Zmanim API until now. This is because unlike other zmanim that solely rely on solar calculations that are tied to the Gregorian calendar, times for Kiddush Levanah depend on the Jewish calendar molad (lunar conjunction) computation. With the recent addition of Jewish calendar support to the alpha releases of the KosherJava Zmaim API 1.3, molad calculation was added, allowing for calculation of kidush levana times. Times include the earliest time calculated as 3 and 7 days after the molad. Sof zman kidush levanah includes the Maharil’s opinion that it is calculated as halfway between molad and molad, and the more lenient full 15 days from the molad mentioned by the Mechaber in the Shulchan Aruch. It should be noted that some opinions hold that the Rema who brings down the opinion of the Maharil’s of calculating half way between molad and molad is of the opinion that the Mechaber agrees with him. Also see the Aruch Hashulchan. For additional details on the subject, See Rabbi Dovid Heber’s very detailed writeup in Siman Daled (chapter 4) of Shaarei Zmanim.

Calculating the Molad

Kidush levanah times depend on the time of the molad. The time of the molad announced in shuls on Shabbos Mevarchim is the time of the Molad Emtzai (Average Molad) in Yerushalayim local mean time. This has to be converted to standard time. Standard time uses time zones to unify clock times across a large area. With 360° of longitude around the globe, the world is divided into 24 timezones (one per hour) resulting in timezones that are 15° of longitude each. Har Habayis with a longitude of 35.2354° is 5.2354° away from the 30° longitude line. Multiply the 5.235° by 4 minutes per degree (15° of longitude per hour) to reach 20.94 minutes, or 20 minutes and 56.496 seconds (5.235 * 4 = 20.94). This time is subtracted from the local molad time to arrive at Standard time. Since the time of the molad is at the same instant globally (unlike zmanim such as sunrise that depend on a person’s location), converting this to a user’s local time involves simply calculating the time difference between the time in Yerushalayim and your location. If daylight savings time is in use, this has to be added to the calculation. Java date formatting classes do this calculation on Date objects without forcing the developer to do any calculations.

Calculating the Start and End of Kiddush Levana Times

The JewishCalendar class contains the methods for claculating these zmanim. Calculating Tchilas Zman Kiddush Levana (the earliest time Kiddush Levana can be said) is done by adding 3 days or 7 days to the molad time. Sof Zman Kiddush Levana (the latest time Kiddush Levana can be said) is either the time between molad and molad calculated by adding 14 days, 18 hours, 22 minutes and 1.666 seconds to the molad (half the 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 1 chelek (3.333 seconds)), or by adding 15 days to the molad.

Using the Zmanim API Calculate Molad Based Times

Here is sample code for calculating various kiddush levana times for anywhere in the world for Shevat 5729 (1969). Since formatting classes requires a timezone for proper formatting, the simple code below assumes that you are looking for the time in your local timezone. If you want the time for a timezone other than the one your computer is in, set the SimpleDateFormat.setTimeZone() to the timezone you wish to display the times for.

int year = 5729;
int month = JewishDate.SHEVAT;
Date tchilas3Days = JewishCalendar.getTchilasZmanKidushLevanah3Days(year, month);
Date tchilas7Days = JewishCalendar.getTchilasZmanKidushLevanah7Days(year, month);
Date sofZmanBetweenMoldos = JewishCalendar.getSofZmanKidushLevanahBetweenMoldos(year, month);
Date sofZmanKidushLevanah15Days = JewishCalendar.getSofZmanKidushLevanah15Days(year, month);
SimpleDateFormat sdf = new SimpleDateFormat("MMM dd, yyyy 'at' HH:mm:ss z");
System.out.println("Tchilas Zman Kiddush Levana 3 Days: " + sdf.format(tchilas3Days));
System.out.println("Tchilas Zman Kiddush Levana 7 Days: " + sdf.format(tchilas7Days));
System.out.println("Sof Zman Kiddush Levana Between Moldos: " + sdf.format(sofZmanBetweenMoldos));
System.out.println("Sof Zman Kiddush Levana 15 Days: " + sdf.format(sofZmanKidushLevanah15Days));

this will output the following in an EST timezone.

Tchilas Zman Kiddush Levana 3 Days: Jan 21, 1969 at 06:06:29 EST
Tchilas Zman Kiddush Levana 7 Days: Jan 25, 1969 at 06:06:29 EST
Sof Zman Kiddush Levana Between Moldos: Feb 02, 1969 at 00:28:31 EST
Sof Zman Kiddush Levana 15 Days: Feb 02, 1969 at 06:06:29 EST

Kiddush Levana Times During Daylight Hours

As you can see, all of these times are at night (After tzais 72 and prior to Alos 72 minutes in Montreal). Many times, these calculations will result in times that are during daylight hours when Kidush Levana can’t be said. When using the API and calculating the time for the tchilas zman kiddush levana and the time is during daylight hours, the earliest time should be tzais the following night. When the calculated time of sof zman kiddush levana is during daylight hours, the time posted should be alos on the previous night. The API may at some point support a method of automatically calculating this.