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A sidur I used this morning had the introductory line of the shir shel yom as "hayom yom sheni b'shabas". When I checked the two sidurim I trust the most for excatitude in these matters, one had "bashabas" and the other omitted the line completely. Which is the correct version?

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Which two siddurim do you trust for the most exactitude in these matters, and which version comes from each siddur? – Chanoch May 30 '11 at 15:38
Checking my siddurim, I see only bashabbos, which I think is grammatically correct. Where do you find b'shabbos? – jake May 31 '11 at 21:45
@jake It's a small promotional one from the Ateres publishing house called T'filas Ya'akov M'shulam. – WAF May 31 '11 at 22:06

Grammatically speaking, the difference between b'-shabbos and ba-shabbos is that the the former contains just the "ב" prefix, while the latter is a contraction of both the "ב" and "ה" prefixes. So one would translate "b'-shabbos" as "of Shabbos" and "ba-shabbos" as "of the Shabbos".

That said, it would depend on what the intention is of the phrase "היום יום __ בשבת".

Simply speaking, one could say that "שבת" in this context means "week". Indeed, the Metsudah siddur translates, "Today is the __ day of the week." In this case, we need the "ה" prefix for "the week", so the word becomes "ba-shabbos".

On the other hand, I found a Breslov siddur in my house that has a commentary with (typically) kabbalistic tendencies. In it, it quotes from Likutei Moharan (2:2) that everyday one should mention the Shabbos thereby extending its holiness through the entire week, and each day will have its own aspect of holiness, which is why we have a particular mizmor for each day.

According to this, it would seem that the phrase "היום יום __ בשבת" really means "Today is the __ day of [the extended holiness of] Shabbos", in which case there is no need for the "ה" prefix, and the word will be "b'-shabbos". (The Breslov siddur indeed has "b'-shabbos".)

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But then, consider the Hoshaana אום נצורה, where a number of lines end with בשבת or לשבת (referring to Shabbos itself, not to the week), and a cursory glance at a few siddurim shows that it's with patach in all of them. In that Breslov siddur, are these with sheva too? – Alex May 31 '11 at 23:49
@Alex, Didn't think of that. Unfortunately, the Breslov siddur is a weekday one, so I can't tell. – jake May 31 '11 at 23:54
@Alex, Now I just found a siddur that's inconsistent. It has a sh'va for the daily mizmor, but a patach for אום נצורה. Maybe it's just a matter of style, whether to give an honorary "the" to read "the Shabbos". – jake Jun 1 '11 at 0:06
Also, a quick search of Tanach shows that the proper form is "ba-Shabbos" or "la-Shabbos", and that sometimes "ha-Shabbos" is used over "Shabbos" and sometimes not. – jake Jun 1 '11 at 0:20
Why does the "week" meaning require a definite article? Is it functioning there to indicate universal quantification (i.e. a reference to every week and not just this one)? – WAF Jun 1 '11 at 2:28

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