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 Shacharit
  • End of Musaph after Aleinu

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

  • 2
    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) 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. 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

I spoke to a number of people regarding the different placements of Anim Zemiros. The reasoning I was told had to do with people not being there on time if done early on in Davening thus missing out on it, to not opening the Aron Kodesh special for it therefore saying it when the Aron Kodesh is opened for the reading of the Torah, to not saying it after Davening as people are rushing out, to saying it at the end of davening as it is not a part of the regular Tefila. I have been unable to find any printed sources for these reasons, however I found that the Rivevos Efraim 4:43 - page 81 quoting Asei Lcha Rav 3:15 (unable to find online) that it should be said while the Aron Kodesh is opened up for the reading of the Torah.

לומר אנעים זמירות בזמן שהא״ק פתוח לקרה״ת עי׳ עשה לך רב ח״ג סי׳ ט״ו

  • No one that I know of has said it while the ark is opened (I assume you mean "prior to the reading ...) of the Torah. I wonder why hardly anyone follows this suggestion? The worst reasoning I had heard came from a shul I went to that used to do it at the end of Musaph, and changed it to just after the Shacharit Amidah repetition. Why? "Because the shul gets too noisy near the end of davening, and people are in a hurry to get to the Kiddush." I can't make this up. Then again, I guess davening has becomes just a means to eat kugel and chulent, these days :-(
    – DanF
    Feb 5 '16 at 17:10
  • 1
    The Aron Kodesh does not remain open for the reading of the Torah, it is opened to remove the Torah and that is most likely what the Rivevos Efraim is referring to. Unfortunately the Sefer he quotes is not available online, and there may be more detail there. Feb 5 '16 at 17:13

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 and yom tov.

  • 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 '15 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 '15 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. Feb 13 '15 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 '15 at 17:28
  • 1
    @NoachmiFrankfurt Thanks. I've asked my shul's chazzan, who is interested in some of the history of tefilot (he asks me trope / kri'ah questions; I ask him tefillah questions. It's a good arrangement.) to research as well. So far, it looks like only the 3 of us are interested in this topic. Shabbat Shalom.
    – DanF
    Feb 26 '16 at 16:23

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