Halakhic Positions of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik
by R. Aharon Ziegler
Many congregations have the custom of ending the Shabbat or Yom Tov Ma’ariv (Arvit) services with the recitation or singing of Yigdal. The idea behind this minhag is based on the fact that with the conclusion of Tefilah we should not rush out of the synagogue like school children running out of classes at the end of the day. Rather, we should sit a moment longer to reflect upon our Tefillot as we take leave of the presence of HaShem. By turning our siddurim back to the beginning and reciting Yigdal (or Adon Olam) we accomplish that purpose.
Rav Soloveitchik believed that one should NOT say Yigdal at the end of prayer services. As a matter of fact, the Rav was uncomfortable with Yigdal being said at any time during the prayer service. He maintained that reciting a hymn such as this which is a take-off of the “Ani Ma’amin” includes within it the fundamental beliefs of the religion. This was a practice followed by certain non-Jews who summarized their dogma via a recitation of the catechism as part of their prayers. We, generally do not do that. Rather, the recitation of any part of Tehillim (Psalms) would be a better choice for lingering a bit, after conclusion of services.
The Arizal was likewise insistent that Yigdal not be said.