A Blessing—Spock Style
“And He lifted up His hands and blessed them.” —Luke 24:50-51
“Live long and prosper!”—Spock (circa 1966 to present)
When Leonard Nimoy coined that phrase for Star Trek, to be used as a traditional Vulcan greeting, he was evoking the Jewish ceremonies of his childhood. People associate the split-fingers two-hand salute with Nimoy’s character, Spock, but in truth, it originates with an ancient Jewish blessing that made an impression on him as a young boy.
When the ancient priests of Israel performed their sacrifices in the Temple, they ended the ceremonies with a blessing. They would lift their hands and make the sign of the Hebrew letter Shin as an abbreviated name for God. It looked like a two handed W. When Aaron, the first priest, completed the sacrifices, he lifted his hands toward the people in that split-fingered configuration and said:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”—Numbers 6:24-26
The importance of blessing reflects how Jesus treated people, with kindness and compassion—and blessing. After His death and resurrection, Jesus led His disciples to the Mount of Olives, “And He lifted up His hands and blessed them” (Luke 24:50-51).
When Jesus lifted His hands in blessing, the scars left behind by the nails were clearly visible. As He departed from them up to heaven, Jesus left them with a blessing. He was the sacrifice and the great high priest who loves us so much that gave Himself to bless us.
We live in a culture immersed in negativity, harshness, offensive language, public insults, fear, and pride. By blessing people, in prayer and with kind words of encouragement, we can literally change the tone of our culture. Don’t hesitate to be a blessing!
You can watch the late Mr. Nimoy explain the Vulcan blessing and its Jewish roots here:
It is reported that Nimoy ended all his tweets and personal messages with “LLAP.” As Nimoy reflects in this video on the popularity of that greeting and its origins, he holds up his fingers Vulcan-style and smiles, saying, “People don’t realize they are blessing each other.”