[Avodah] BAmidbar or BEmidbar?

Zvi Lampel zvilampel at gmail.com
Thu May 21 16:46:50 PDT 2020

The Dikdukian: B_MIDBAR

Posted: 20 May 2020 08:45 PM PDT

For some time, when I would write my Weekly Shtikle (shameless
cross-promotion) for this week's parshah, I would write it Bemidbar since
that is how it is pronounced correctly. However, one year a friend of mine
sent me the following convincing argument which I have accepted:
While you are correct that in context the word is read Bemidbar, the name
of the parsha is clearly Bamidbar. The custom has been to isolate the word
or words that are the title and conjugate accordingly. This is why we have
Tazriyah and not Sazriyah. Mishpatim and not HaMishpatim (since we do not
use v'aileh and clarify it with asher ...). Devarim and not HaDevarim.
Since the reference is to a specific desert (Sinai) the hay hayediyah is
implemented. The names, according to tradition, are clearly not just the
word or words of the beginning phrase.
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