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In the Nusach Ari used by Chabad, Yedid Nefesh appears as a continuation of Pasach Eliyahu to be said before Mincha. The standard print of the Tehilas Hashem siddur explicitly instructs to say it before Mincha although it is ambiguous at best in the Alter Rebbe's Siddur, from the Siddur Torah Or on it is put squarely before Mincha.

However, many Chabad Houses I have attended will sing Yedid Nefesh right before Lecha Dodi. Is this simply a way of adding a nice tune, or is there a reason behind the practice related to the Nusach of the prayers?

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    I think we do it to accommodate those who do. Proof is that in we don't do it in 770 or Anash minyanim. – ertert3terte Sep 29 '14 at 20:55
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    My guess is that it started as a way to stall while waiting for a minyan to show up. It was an existing custom in the world, and it was already in the nusach (albeit for Mincha), so it was convenient. – Menachem Sep 30 '14 at 2:05
  • Perhaps to stall for time so they can daven maariv after צאת הכוכבים. – Ploni Mar 27 '17 at 10:36
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not everyone in a chabad house is or was always a Lubavitcher and some customs are done in a way to accommodate the congregation as apposed to for example 770 in crown heights or other smaller minyanim that are in chabad communities rather than outreach centers. For example in a chabad house near me adon olam is sung after the conclusion of musaf because this shul was not always a chabad house the members want to sing it here as apposed to the chabad minhag which is to recite it during bircas hashachar. The example in the question is also done at this shul yedid nefesh is often sung friday nights before kabalas shabbos. One last example is in the first chabad house I went to as a kid that uses the ashkenazi minhag for "v'zos hatorah..." which includes a few extra words not found in the chabad siddur but is what most people in the congregation are used to.

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