Hebrew - Prefixes - In, To and Like
The three prefixes
- be- (with, in, by, at, on),
- ke- (like, as, about, according to),
- and le- (to, for, towards)
are termed inseparable prepositions and behave in the same way. They are always prefixed to nouns, and follow these rules:
- Before consonants with a full vowel, except where noted below, they normally use sheva’
- Where the first consonant has simple vocal sheva’, convert to î, eg.
libherâkhâh (for a blessing)
- Where the first consonant is yôdh with simple sheva’, convert to î and join to form diphthong, eg.
bîyrûshâlayim (in Jerusalem)
- Where the first consonant is a guttural with composite sheva’, convert to the augment, eg.
be’emeth (in truth)
Except occasionally an initial ’aleph quiesces to give ê rather than e, in particular the divine name ’elohîym which takes ê to give lê’elohîym (to God/gods)
- Where the first syllable is the tone syllable, often but not always convert to â, eg.
lâdhîyn (for/to judge)
- Before the definite article ha-, drop the h and the sheva’ in preference to the a, but keep the daghesh forte, eg.
(in the garden) be + ha + gan becomes baggan
(in the) be + ha becomes ba
(in the) le + ha becomes la
(in the) ke + ha becomes ka