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Recently, I paid attention to the Rosh Chodesh Torah reading (Bamidbar/Numbers Chapter 28) and noticed that in verse 10, "olas Shabbas b'Shabato…", the word "Shabbas" is vowelized with a pasach (short o as in "pot") under the bais. Usually, the word has a kamatz (short u as in "dug") under the bais, being read "Shabbus", and transliterated as "Shabbos."
A pasach in this manner usually indicates a s'michus, meaning that the word is connected to the following word, typically as a description. Here, though, "Shabbas" does not appear to be describing the next word, "b'Shabato".

So why the unusual vowelization?

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I believe this is just a masoretic quirk. Your thoughts are correct. –  Double AA May 11 at 4:38
    
I think that when the word "Shabbat" is followed by an adjective, it gets a patach. See the consistency in the Torah's use of "Shabbat Shaboton" - The 1st Shabbat has a patach as it is followed by the "adjective" - Shabbaton (what kind of Shabbat? a "Shabbaton" or "double" Shabbat.) In a sense, "Shabbat B'Shabbato" the "B'SHabbato" could be considered an adjective as the meaning of teh phrase means, "each Shabbat". BTW - The same patach is used in speech in the phrase "Shabbat Shalom" - "Shalom" is an adjective. –  DanF May 12 at 17:17
    
@DanF Are you sure the phrase Shabbat Shalom is like that? Perhaps it is just the Sefardic and Modern Israeli tendency of pronouncing Patach and Kamatz the same –  Double AA Jul 8 at 4:11
    
@DoubleAA - I had forgotten about this Q. You raise a good point, here. I'm still inclined to stick to my original analysis, though. Another example to support the Patach - from Zemirot - "Shabbat Kodesh Hayom Chemdato" (Patach - Kodesh is an adj.) –  DanF Jul 8 at 17:45

1 Answer 1

This seems to be a Masoretic quirk. The Masorah (in the "Damascus Keter") for that verse notes this unusual occurance and lists the other places in Tanakh where שבת is punctuated this way.

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[The word] Shabbat [thus punctuated appears] 4 [times]. And their mnemonic: Vehayta Olat Lehakhin Kodshecha. And all [instances of the phrase] Shabbat Shabbaton [are also thus punctuated].

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