Ani Ma'Amin

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ANI MA'AMIN (Heb. אֲנִי מַאֲמִין; "I believe"), a short creed based, as is the *Yigdal hymn, on the Thirteen *Articles of Faith formulated by *Maimonides. Each article begins with the words Ani ma'amin be-emunah shelemah ("I believe with complete faith"). The author is unknown. The credo character of the formula and the custom of reciting this creed may both be due to Christian influence. The catechistic formula "I believe with perfect faith…," reminiscent of early Christian creeds, has no basis in the Arabic original of Maimonides' thirteen principles, which are stated apodictically, although the medieval Hebrew translation by Solomon b. Joseph ibn Ya'aqub frequently interpolates "to believe" (le-ha'amin) or "that we believe" (she-na'amin).

The Ani Ma'amin is found, in a somewhat enlarged version, in a 15th-century manuscript (Parma, 1753 (997)) of miscellaneous prayers with the superscription: "These are the 13 principles of religion, faith, and ethics, and denying one of them is equivalent to denying the whole Torah. They should be recited daily after prayer, for whosoever recites them daily, will come to no harm all that day." The Ashkenazi prayer book, printed in Mantua in 1558, is apparently the first to incorporate the Ani Ma'amin. It appears after the Hallel prayer and the superscription in High German reads: "Some have the custom to recite this also in the morning." It can now be found in most Ashkenazi prayer books at the end of the morning service. Unlike the *Yigdal hymn, however, the more creedal Ani Ma'amin never became part of the liturgy. The recital of the Ani Ma'amin is concluded by the three words of Genesis 49:18 repeated three times in different order, in Hebrew and Aramaic, as in the Night Prayer, a custom based on Kabbalah. The 12th article, expressing belief in the coming of the Messiah, became the Martyrs' Hymn during the Nazi Holocaust, when it was sung to a haunting melody by those taken to their death in the extermination camps and thereafter was frequently sung in their memory. For a piyyut based on Ani Ma'amin, see Davidson, Oẓar, s.v.


Abrahams, Companion, cii ff.; Hertz, Prayer, 248 ff.; D. Neumark, Toledot ha-Ikkarim, 2 (1923), 161; L. Jacobs, Principles of Jewish Faith (1964), 17–18. add. bibliography: M.D. Gaon, "Keriat Yod Gimmel ha-Ikkarim," in: Yeda Am, 3 (1955), 39–41; A. Cosman, "Yod Gimmel ha-Ikkarim la-Rambam be-'Ferush ha-Mishnah,' be-'Yigdal,' u-ve-'Ani Ma'amin,'" in: Itamar Warhaftig (ed.), Minḥah le-Ish (1991), 337–48; M. Shapiro, The Limits of Orthodox Theology: Maimonides' Thirteen Principles Reappraised (2004).

[Marc B. Shapiro (2nd ed.)]