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The Arizal held a view that Yigdal should not be recited. As the ArtScroll Siddur (Nusach Sefard) puts it,

יִגְּדַל אֲלֹהִים חַי - Exalted be the Living G-d.

This song of uncertain authorship summarizes the 'Thirteen Principles of Faith' expounded by Rambam [Maimonides] in his Commentary to Mishnah (Sanhedrin ch. 10), and stated succinctly in the Ani Maamin prayer (p. 194, see commentary there). They comprise the basic principles of Jewish faith. In the Rambam's view, to deny any of them constitutes heresy.

Although this song is printed in most Siddurim, many congregations follow the view of the Arizal that is not be recited.

Why was it the position of the Arizal that Yigdal not be recited?


The Wikipedia page I cited mentions that it was the Arizal's opinion that Yigdal not be recited, as the prayer it omitted in his siddur. However, it does not mention why.

  • If I recall, some suggest that the reason is that it may have been written by R. Immanuel of Rome, who some disliked. – mevaqesh Mar 10 '17 at 1:30
  • Why did they dislike him? Was he an apostate or radical or something? – ezra Mar 10 '17 at 1:36
  • He (Immanuel the Roman) fared worse with later critics, and Yosef Karo, author of the Shulchan Aruch codex of Jewish law, forbade the reading of his poems altogether. This stricture is due to the strong admixture of the lascivious, frivolous, and erotic found in the poems. No wonder. (From the Wiki) – ezra Mar 10 '17 at 1:38
  • It's not being in the Siddur may indicate that he thought it wasn't part of the service, not that it shouldn't be recited. You can recite poems all you want but requiring everyone to do so is another story – Double AA Mar 10 '17 at 1:40
  • See R. Mazuz's comments about his works here. The main issue is some of his erotic poetry (I believe). @ezra Note that the Hida, and unsurprisingly R. Mazuz encouraged the study of his commentary to Mishlei. Erotic poetry was quite common at the time, and authored by many well known Spanish poets. – mevaqesh Mar 10 '17 at 1:41
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The MaVar YaBok brings that The Arizal was particular not use anything from the Achronim (not in our sense of the word rather later authorities ,not sure the starting point),rather only use prayers from the Rishonim who understand formulation of prayer and would not make errors. He actually singles out Yigdal specifically (assuming the reason is because of its late authorship.

Text of source(starts from second column) :

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Sefer Masos Kapay quotes the Siddur Hageonim Vihamekubalim that the Arizal insisted on only saying piyutim authored by Rishonim because those could be trusted to be al derech haemes, but the later generations didn't understand kabbalah sufficiently to author well-written piyuttim.

Another possibility is that he didn't consider the author worthy of composing a piyut. Shulchan Aruch 307:16 speaks extremely negatively about the (probable) author of Yigdal's other works and strongly discourages reading them, labeling him a machatee es harabim.

Rabbi Soloveitchik is quoted in Nefesh Harav pg 231 as saying that it violates the principle mentioned by the Ramban in Re'eh that one should not serve God in a similar way to that of idol worshipers. Since the Catholics have a catechism which summarizes their main beliefs, it is forbidden to summarize our main beliefs in a single hymn.

  • so shouldnt Adon Olam also be problematic? – sam Mar 10 '17 at 2:10
  • @sam no, because it's not a systematic summary of our main beliefs, it just mentions a few of them, just as many other piyuttim do – Jay Mar 10 '17 at 2:13
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    and ani mamin that said after prayer is ok because ots not one unti,or bevause it said not btzibur? – sam Mar 10 '17 at 2:14
  • @sam that's a good point. I don't know. – Jay Mar 10 '17 at 2:16
  • It would be helpful if you could provide some links to your sources so I can read them, if you can. I like the answer, though. – ezra Mar 10 '17 at 2:27

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