Yigdal Elohim Chai

Sfarad-Yerushalaim

About the Piyut

In this Piyut the author, R. Daniyel ben Yehudah the Judge of Rome, who lived in the 13th century, lists the thirteen Principles of Faith as phrased by Maimonides in his commentary to the Mishnah. The piyut gained great popularity, was adapted to many different tunes and was incorporated into most traditions which usually sing it at the end of the prayers. Many authors tried to imitate the piyut and some even wrote parodies. Interestingly enough, R. Yitzhak Luria Ashkenazi opposed this piyut, mainly because he disagreed with defining and declaring principles of faith, and therefore those who follow his rulings do not include “Yigdal” in their prayer books.

Yigdal Elohim Chai can be found on the recordings of Piyutim North America. The author is Rabbi Daniel ben Yehudah, Italy, 13th Century.

Lyrics

Transliteration:

Yigdal Elohim chai ve’yishtabach / nimtza ve’ein et el metzi’uto
Echad ve’ein yachid keyichudo / ne’elam ve’gam ein sof le’achduto
Ein lo demut haguf ve’eino guf / lo na’aroch elav kedushato
Kadmon lechol davar asher nivra / rishon ve’ein reshit lereshito
Hino adon olam lechol notzar / yoreh gedulato u’malchuto
Shefa nevuato netano / el anshei segulato vetifarto
Lo kam beyisrael kemoshe od / navi umabeet et temunato
Torat emet natan le’amo El / al yad nevi’o ne’eman beto
Lo yachalif ha’El velo yamir / dato le’olamim lezulato
Tzofeh veyodea setareinu / mabeet lesof davar bekadmato
Gomel le’ish chassid kemifalo / noten lerasha ra kerishato
Yishlach leketz yamim meshichenu / lifdot mechakei ketz yeshuato
Metim yechayeh El berov chassdo / baruch adei ad shem tehilato
Eleh shelosh esre laikarim / hen hem yesod dat El vetorato
Torat Moshe emet unvuato / baruch adei ad shem tehilato

Translation:

Exalted be the Living God, and praise He exists and His existence is unbound by time
He is One and there is no unity like His Oneness inscrutable and infinite is His Oneness
He has neither form of body nor is He corporeal nor may His holiness be compared to aught
He preceded all that was created the First, and nothing preceded His precedence
Behold, the Master of the universe to all creations demonstrating His greatness and sovereignty
An abundance of prophecy he has bestowed upon His treasured and splendorous people
There has not arisen in Israel another like Moses a prophet who beheld His image
A Torah of truth God gave His nation by means of His prophet, the faithful of His house
God will never exchange or alter His Law for any another, for all eternity
He sees and knows our most hidden secrets He perceives a matter’s outcome at its inception
He rewards re man with kindness according to his works
He places evil on the wicked according to his wickedness
He will send our Messiah at the End of Days to redeem those waiting for His final salvation
God will revive the dead in His abundant kindness
may His splendorous Name be blessed forever more
These are the thirteen principles of faith they are the foundation of the God’s law and Torah
Moses’ Torah and prophecy are true blessed eternally be His great name*

*The italicized verses are found in the Eastern Jewish traditions.

Singers

Musicians

Production

  • Musical Direction and Arrangements: Yair Harel and Omer Avital
  • Production: Ari Priven, Yair Harel and Omer Avital
  • Mixing and editing: Daniel Freedman
  • Mastered by: Randy Merrill at Masterdisk
  • Recorded at B’nai Jeshurun, New York City, July 2010