A piyyut (plural piyyutim, Hebrew פיוט, IPA2|pijút and [pijutím] ) is a Jewish liturgical poem, usually designated to be sung, chanted, or recited during religious services. "Piyyutim" have been written since Temple times. Most "piyyutim" are in Hebrew or Aramaic, and most follow some poetic scheme, such as an
acrosticfollowing the order of the Hebrew alphabetor spelling out the name of the author.
Many "piyyutim" are familiar to regular attendees of synagogue services. For example, the best-known "piyyut" may be "Adon Olam" ("Master of the World"), sometimes attributed to
Solomon ibn Gabirolin 11th century Spain. Its poetic form consists simply of rhyming iambic tetrameter, and it is so beloved that it is often sung at the conclusion of many synagogue services, after the ritual nightly saying of the Shema, and during the morning ritual of putting on tefillin. Another well-beloved "piyyut" is "Yigdal" ("May God be Hallowed"), which is based upon the Thirteen Principles of Faithdeveloped by Maimonides.
The author of a piyyut is known as a "
paytan" (plural "paytanim").
What follows is a chart of some of the best-known and most-beloved "piyyutim". This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it tries to provide a flavor of the variety of poetic schemes and occasions for which these poems were written. Many of the "piyyutim" marked as being recited on
Shabbatare songs traditionally sung as part of the home ritual observance of Shabbatand also known as "zemirot" ("Songs/Melodies").
* [http://www.piyut.org.il Piyut site] - audio recordings of piyyutim, along with corresponding lyrics in Hebrew
* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=360&letter=P&search=Anim%20Zemiros Jewish Encyclopedia article on piyyutim]
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