At least in Nusach Ashkenaz, there is a piyut before Musaf on the 3 regalim, יה אלי, and one on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, הנני העני.

However, in every shul I've been to, יה אלי is said before Ashrei of Musaf, while הנני העני is after Ashrei (and after putting back the Sefer Torah), right before kaddish. Why the difference in placement?

  • 1
    What do you mean by "before Musaf"? I wouldn't say "יה אלי" is before Musaf unless you mean it in the sense that פסוקי דזמרא is before Musaf. יה אלי is a piyut designed to precede Ashrei. It has nothing to do with Musaf as far as I can tell.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 17:19
  • 2
    @DoubleAA אתיצבה לקראתך? You can sit for Ashrei (and I remember seeing someone say that you should).
    – Heshy
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 17:27
  • 1
    Just making this up on the fly, but the הנני tefila is seems to clearly be going on the hazan's tefila on behalf of the congregation. There is often a long break between ashrei and shmoneh esrei for the rabbi to speak, so it seems like we would want to say that piyut in close proximity to the chazan's tefila, which would mean after the rabbi finishes speaking.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 17:30
  • 1
    Is הנני העני a Piyut? It doesn't seem like it. It just seems like a prayer the Chazzan says to himself. Nothing to do with the community. He's just about to start the hard part so he prays for success.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 17:31
  • 1
    You seem to think there's a category called"pre musaf piyutim" and that these are two instances of this with a notable difference in placement which must be based on some first principle. Really there's no such category. Just two things: an ashrei Piyut and a prayer before musaffor the chazzan. Even if yah Eli was intended to be about the upcoming musaf too that doesn't change anything. There is no reason at all to expect these two things to be at the same point in the service.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


`Koh Keli is a poem/prayer which is made specifically as an introduction to Ashrei. That is why it is said before Ashrei.

You can tell this is so, because each of the paragraphs of Koh Keli end with "...Forever I will praise you with Ashrei Yoshvei Beysecha." The poem asks that we all be returned to our land and be able to offer the proper korbanos etc. Ashrei's first words are "Happy are those who dwell in your house..". So it is appropriate to precede Ashrei with a request that "Your house" be rebuilt so we can all return there etc.

Koh Keli is a "pre-mussaf" prayer because Ashrei is the usual pre-mussaf prayer/intro and Koh Keli introduces Ashrei. It was intended to get the community to keenly feel the lack of the Temple and the Land of Israel which is the only place to offer the real musaf korbanos. The one who wrote the piyut seemed to want the congregation to cultivate this in mind during the words of Ashrei so they would already have such a feeling flaming in their heart as Musaf started.

Hinneni he'ani... means "Behold I am a poor man...". It is the Chazzan's job to be the people's representative to lead the Musaf prayer. This job starts with the Kaddish before Musaf (which is after Ashrei). You need a Chazzan to recite Kaddish and everyone answers. Ashrei doesn't need a Chazzan.

So, right before the Chazzan begins his job, he declares how unworthy he is and begs Hashem that his and the congregation's prayers are accepted etc.

That's the difference. :)

  • The OP seems irrationally convinced Kal Keili is about Musaf, so as silly as the question is, I don't see how your asserting otherwise is going to convince him.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 18:02
  • 1
    @DoubleAA :) Well maybe my experience as Chazzan for both for many years would help him believe me? Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 18:22
  • First he'd have to believe that you actually have ever been a Chazzan...
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 18:23
  • What you stated about "Kah Keli" is sensible. But, this really needs a source or two to strengthen this answer. I'd imagine that the Art Scroll Machzor, among other sources, should say something that supports your points.
    – DanF
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 21:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .