The Chassidishe Rebbe of Rachmistrivka Rabbi Duvid Twersky with his followers performed the ritual of sanctifying the moon in Tsfat on Cheshvan 14, the last possible day to sanctify the moon (did we mention they were Chassidim?).
The Rachmastrivka Chassidic dynasty, an offshoot of the Chernobyl dynasty, is named after the town of Rotmistrivka. It was founded by Rabbi Yochanan Twersky (1816-1895), the youngest son of Reb Mordechai Twersky, the Maggid of Chernobyl.
These days there are two Rachmistrivka Rebbes, one in Borough Park, Brooklyn, the other in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Rebbe is a nephew of the Borough Park Rebbe.
Kiddush Levanah (Sanctification of the Moon) is a Jewish ritual that’s performed outside at night under the new moon from the seventh to the fourteenth day of the lunar month.
Rabbi Yochanan taught that one who blesses the new moon in its proper time is regarded as if he greeted the Divine Presence (Shechina). (Sanhedrin 42.)
Many synagogues post the text of the prayer in large type on an outside wall, for greater visibility, or hand out laminated pages with the text, also in large print. This is the source of the Hebrew term “kiddush levana letters” meaning unusually large letters.
The Blessing of the Moon is one of the blessings related to sighting natural phenomena. These blessings have an important educational purpose: stressing that God is the source of all the forces in the world and denying the attribution of natural phenomena to pagan gods.
The moon and its renewal symbolize the Jewish people: just as the moon is renewed and fades every month, so too throughout their history the Jewish people experience periods of depression and prosperity. This cycle will continue until the coming redemption when the people of Israel will gain their proper status, much like the moon which was created equal to the sun but was demoted until the time of redemption when they will rule the heavens as equals once again.
Also, just as the moon illuminates the night’s darkness, so do the people of Israel illuminate the brutish and dark humanity with the light of God.