Was the White House Dog Named After a Torah Portion?

First, there’s a Seder in the White House. Then a dog named for a Torah portion?

Given all the hubbub about the Obama’s new dog — a closely guarded secret that somehow was leaked over the weekend — it strikes some of us as more than curious to see the connection between the dog’s new name and the holiday that Jews (and others) are now celebrating.

The official story is that Malia and Sasha named their adorable, black-and-white Portuguese water dog “Bo” after the famous musician Bo Diddley, and because that was their maternal grandfather’s nickname. (The fact that Bo also can be read as B.O., their famous father’s initials, seems to have garnered little notice in the breathless coverage of this major event.)

But learned Jews might also note that “Bo” — which in Hebrew means the command “come” or “go” — is the first word uttered in the Torah portion from the third book of Exodus describing the plagues visited upon Pharoah for refusing to let the Jewish people leave Egypt. And while the portion is usually read in synagogue in January or February, the dramatic story it tells is headlined in the Haggadah that was read at last week’s Seders.

So could there be a connection here — between the Seder held in the White House on Thursday and the naming of the new dog just a few days later?

At least the four-legged pet didn’t arrive a couple of weeks from now. Can you imagine a dog — or anyone else — answering to Tazria-Metzora?

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Was the White House Dog Named After a Torah Portion?

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