Ani Ma'amin (אני מאמין) "I believe" is a prosaic rendition of Maimonides' thirteen-point version of the Jewish principles of faith. It is based on his Mishnah commentary to tractate Sanhedrin. The popular version of Ani Ma'amin is of a later date and has some significant differences with Maimonides' original version. It is of unknown authorship. Both Ani Ma'amin and a poetic version, Yigdal, form part of the prayers of Jews and have inspired varied settings to music.
The recitation consists of thirteen lines, each beginning with the phrase "Ani ma'amin be-emunah shelemah" ("I believe with perfect faith"). It follows the same order as Maimonides' enumeration.
Many Jews recite Ani Ma'amin at the conclusion of their morning prayers. The poetic version Yigdal is more commonly recited at the beginning of the prayers. In some communities Yigdal is also recited on the Shabbat and holidays after the evening service.
The penultimate line refers to the essential Jewish belief in the coming of the Mashiach. As such, this line has become a popular source of lyrics for Jewish songs.
One version of the tune is attributed to the Reb Azriel David, a Modzitser Hasid, who reportedly composed the tune in a cattle car when being taken to Treblinka. The tune was taken up by the other Modziter Hasidim who sang the song as they were being herded into the gas chambers of the Nazi concentration camps. The song was then adopted by other Jewish prisoners and became known as the Hymn of the Camps. It is still frequently sung at Holocaust Remembrance Day services. Some also sing it at the Passover Seder, in memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which began on the first night of Passover in 1943.
Another tune to the words of Ani Ma'amin is used as a positive song included at happy events, mainly weddings. The words are the same, but a much happier tune is used. The popular Chabad-Lubavitch singer Avraham Fried has recorded a version of this song that has gained popularity, reflecting the Chabad-Lubavitch's emphasis on the imminent coming of the Messiah.
Another popular version of Ani Ma'amin was composed by Shlomo Carlebach.
- Dorfman, Yitzchak. "Ani Ma'amin - The Holocaust". Chabad.org. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
- Learn to sing Ani Maamin with midi file, lyrics, translation at www.greatjewishmusic.com.