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There are times when the Torah refers to Shabat in feminine as in Shmot (Ex.) 31:13 "...But you shall observe my Shabbats, for SHE is a sign". Other times the masculine voice is used as in Shmot (Ex.) 35:2 "...Anyone that does work on it" (Heb. _ "Bo", which is masculine).
Why does the Torah refer to Shabbat in both forms?

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I think the masculine ones are referring to "Yom Shabbath" (even if only implicitly). This is at least evident in the example you cited ("but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day..."). –  Seth J Jun 6 at 21:06

1 Answer 1

I had asked this question to a professor of Hebrew many years ago and he told me that the word שבת is female. The confusion arises because the Torah often refers to the day of שבת, which is male. Thus, 35:2 refers to the seventh day

שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִהְיֶה לָכֶם קֹדֶשׁ שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן לַיהֹוָה כָּל הָעֹשֶׂה בוֹ מְלָאכָה יוּמָת

Sometimes it isn't so clear though, as in כל שומר שבת מחללו (Yeshayahu 56:2), which he had claimed was also a reference to the day, to יום השבת. An online search has revealed that in two separate Hebrew forums, simania and tapuz, this is the explanation given.

However, the Even-Shoshan Dictionary lists the noun as androgynous.

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Thanks. I had forgotten that I had posted this question. It's been a while. Thanks, also for mentioning the Even Shoshan dictionary. I had seen it a while ago, and it is a good one. I probably should buy it –  DanF Jun 27 at 13:03
    
Yeah most people consider it pretty authoritative –  Matt Jun 27 at 13:48

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