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In many Nusach Ashkenaz shuls, there is a minhag to say either Adon Olam or Yigdal at the end of Shabbat / Yom Tov Ma'ariv and many say Adon Olam at the end of Musaph.

What's the reason / origin of this custom?

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There is an interesting part in The Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer: The Ashkenazic and Sephardic Rites (p. 7) citing Mateh Moshe ל"א (p. 71 in this edition). Regarding the general recital of Adon Olam, he says that all those, who sing it with much devotion, prevent the Satan to defy their prayers, while based on Mishlei 16:7, their enemies will fall. At the end we sing it for the following reason (see again Mateh Moshe רי"ו on p. 118):

Just as Bereishit is reread immediately after concluding all Five Books of the Pentateuch on Simhat Torah, Adon Olam is repeated in similar manner at the conclusion of a service so that Satan shall not be a threat.

  • Not quite ready to accept this answer. Does he suggest doing this at the end of every prayer? If so, then it seems the prevalent minhag is to say it only on Shabbat / Yom Tov. Perhaps it was not said on weekdays because of torach tzibbur? – DanF Oct 31 '17 at 13:53
  • @DanF Indeed, it is discussed among the general weekday rules of prayer in Mateh Moshe. I need to look around a bit, but most probably it was avoided not to burden the congregation, especially on weekdays, when everyone is in hurry. – Kazi bácsi Oct 31 '17 at 14:57

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