Exalted Be

Yigdal Elokim chai v'yishtabach nimtza v'ein et el m'tziuto
Exalted be the Living G-d and praised, He exists - unbounded by time in His existence.

Echad v'ein yachid k'yichudo ne'lam v'gam ein sof l'achduto
He is One - and there is no unity like His Oneness.  Inscrutable and infinite is His Oneness.

Ein lo d'mut haguf v'eino guf lo na'aroch elav k'dushato
He has no semblance of a body nor is He corporeal; nor has His holiness any comparison.

Kadmon l'chal davar asher nivra rishon v'ein reishit l'reishito
He preceded every being that was created - the First, and nothing preceded His precedence.

Hino adon olam l'chal notzar yoreh g'dulato umalchuto
Behold! He is Master of the universe to every creature, He demonstrates His greatness and His sovereignty.

Shefa n'vuato n'tano el anshei s'gulato v'tifarto
He granted His flow of prophecy to His treasured splendorous people.

Lo kam b'Yisrael k'Moshe od navi umabit et t'munato
In Yisrael none like Moshe arose again - a prophet who perceived His vision clearly.

Torat emet natan l'amo el al yad n'vio ne'eman beito
 G-d gave His people a Torah of truth, by means of His prophet, the most trusted of His household.

Lo yachalif haEl v'lo yamir dato l'olamim l'zulato
 G-d will never amend nor exchange His law for any other one, for all eternity.

Tzofeh v'yode'a s'tareinu mabit l'sof davar b'kadmato
 He scrutinizes and knows our hiddenmost secrets; He perceives a matter's outcome at its inception.

Gomeil l'ish chesed k'mifalo noten l'rasha ra k'rishato
He recompenses man with kindness according to his deed; He places evil on the wicked according to his wickedness.

Yishlach l'ketz hayamim m'shichenu lifdot m'chakei ketz y'shuato
By the End of Days He will send our Mashiach, to redeem those longing for His final salvation.

Meytim y'chaiyeh el b'rov chasdo Baruch adei ad shem t'hilato
G-d will revive the dead in His abundant kindness - Blessed forever is His praised Name.

The liturgical poem Yigdal, used as an opening hymn in the daily morning service, was composed by Rabbi Daniel ben Yehudah of 14th century Rome. It consists of 13 lines which summarize the 13 principles of faith as formulated by Moses Maimonides in his Mishnah commentary (on Sanhedrin 10:1). One rhyme runs through all the 13 lines, each of which consists of 16 syllables. In the Siddur of the Spanish-Portuguese Jews a 14th line is added, which reads: "These 13 principles are the foundation of the divine faith and the Torah."

The Jewish philosophy of Moses Maimonides (1135 - 1204), summed up in Yigdal as it is in Ani Maamin, consists of the following fundamental principles: 1) There is a Creator 2) His Oneness is absolute 3) He is without material form 4) He is eternal 5) He alone may be worshiped 6) The prophets are true 7) Moshe was the greatest of all prophets 8) The entire Torah was divinely given to Moshe 9) The Torah is immutable 10) G-d knows all the acts and thoughts of man 11) He rewards and punishes 12) Mashiach will come 13) There will be resurrection.

The number 13 is reminiscent of the numerical value of the word echad (One). Thus there are 13 attributes of G-d; the Torah is interpreted by means of 13 principles of talmudic logic; the Bar Mitzvah age is 13; the poem Echad mi yode (Who knows one? - sung at Pesach) has 13 stanzas, ending with the 13 divine attributes.

Though the Scriptures hardly contains a command bidding us to believe, its whole structure is built upon the belief in the relation of G-d to man. The Jew belongs to his nationality even after having committed the greatest sin, just as the Englishman does not cease to be an Englishman by having committed a heinous crime. Every article of Maimonides which seems to offer difficulties to us contains an assertion of some relaxed belief, or a protest against other creeds.

The metrical scheme of Yigdal is, like that of Adon Olam, devised on the basis of a simple sound (tenuah) and a compound sound (yated). The yated consists of a sheva () or chataf () followed by a regular vowel. The word yigdal, for instance, has two tenuot, while elokim consists of a yated and a tenuah. The metrical arrangement of Yigdal is: twice two tenuot and yated, followed by two tenuot.


  • Artscroll Siddur

  • Encyclopedia of Jewish Concepts - Birnbaum