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I am aware of 3 different customs of when to say An'im Zemirot on Shabbat:

  • Beginning of Shacharit, Between Bircot Hashachar and Psukei D'Zimrah
  • After Chazarat Hashat"z of Shacaharit
  • End of Musaph after Aleinu

Is there a reason behind each of these 3 customs? Why the "debate"?

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I can't weigh in on too much, but I know that the Maharal in Nesiv Ha'Avodah was very opposed to saying it at the end of davening, because the appropriate time for praises is before Shemoneh Esre (he was actually opposed to the song anyway, but was particularly bothered its placement after Shemoneh Esre) – Matt Jul 22 '14 at 15:30
@Matt - There is a practical reason for having it at the end. This way young kids can sing it. Actually "En Kelokeinu" is the 1st "straighthrough" point in davening when you can call pre-Bar Mitzvah kids. I know that's not the reason for the minhag, itself. Personally, I don't favor kids davening An'im Zemirot. Many of them can't pronounce the words correctly, and I don't think an average pre-teen boy understands the words. For that matter, most adults don't understand the words, either, so we're not much better :-) – DanF Jul 22 '14 at 15:45
@DanF, doesn't M"B permit davening in Hebrew if one doesn't understand? On a more topical note, all of my siddurim mention Shir haKavod after aleinu, while my Birnbaum machzor gives the other two positions as acceptable points. – Noach mi Frankfurt Jul 22 '14 at 16:42
@NoachmiFrankfurt, I know several Minyanim that don't recite it at all because it is Shir HaKavod, and we generally (and a child especially) are not on the level where that is appropriate. Certainly one should at least understand what he is saying, no? – Seth J Jul 22 '14 at 18:11
@SethJ (and, partially to Noach, as well) - I agree that ideally, people should undrestand what their davening. In actuality, most don't understand most of what they're saying, myself included. Yet, we fulfill the mitzvah, anyway, B"H. If comprehension were an absolute requirement, we'd be out of shul a lot sooner, I guess, or there would be a lot more shmoozing or texting :-) Noach - what gives Shir Hakavod it's special status for not being said solely based on criteria of not understanding it? – DanF Jul 22 '14 at 18:27

1 Answer 1

This is not a fully developed answer, so if someone could edit if they have any additional info.

Shir haKavod (Anim Zemirot) is typically recited in connection with the Shir Shel Yom (henceforward: shash"y). Shash"y is relatively mobile, for example it is Minhag Anglia to recite it* before Pesukei D'zimrah (source: friends from the UK). However, in Eastern Germany, France, and Chassidic and Sephardi communities, it is said right before K'riat haTorah (sources: davening in French and Eastern German minhag schuls as well as siddurim). Finally, the practice in the Rheinland, Eastern Ashkenazi siddurim, and Israeli siddurim is to say shash"y after Aleinu (this practice is consistent throughout the week) (sources: Rödelheim siddurim and machzorim, Artscroll, Birnbaum, Koren, and Rinat Yisrael).

As most siddurim print Anim Zemirot either right before- or right after shash"y, it is said in connection with the particular tehillah.

*The positioning given for Shir Shel Yom is based on when it is said on Shabbat an yom tov.

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The shir hayichud's are broken up into 7 sections pertaining to the days of the week. I wonder if the connection of AZ to the end of davening comes via the shir hayichud. – y.lub Feb 13 at 18:36
+1 for the nice, but partial answer. If you find something relating to the positioning of Shash"y, this would help the answer. My shul actually breaks up the two. On SHabbat, Shash"y is said before Psukei, and A.Z. is at the end of davening. A source for stating why (or if) A.Z. and Shash"y must be connected would also help. – DanF Feb 13 at 18:40
@DanF, I wish I had more (also answers putting out bounties for improvement wouldn't hurt) but I used all I have. I'll ask the rabbanim in the area over shabbos though, b"n. – Noach mi Frankfurt Feb 13 at 18:48
@NoachmiFrankfurt - I held out to await other answers, but there are none besides yours. IMO, it is a start, but doesn't completely answer why An'im Zemirot is connected to Shir Shel Yom, and if it were, doesn't ecplain the movement of Shir Shel Yom. I'm awarding the bounty by default, obviously. If, at some point, you can edit the answer, I would love to hear it. Yasher Kochacha on this answer, and Happy Purim. – DanF Feb 20 at 17:28
@DanF, I asked my rabbanim, however, they were unsure. I myself don't know where to start, although bs"d, I will find out more soon. – Noach mi Frankfurt Feb 20 at 19:53

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