Leonard Nimoy Bestows a Blessing on the World
Long-time Star Trek fans have heard the story innumerable times, but it never fails to charm.
During the filming of “Amok Time,” Nimoy wanted to devise a formal, ritualistic gesture with which Vulcans would greet one another. Here’s the story of what happened as I first heard it, in the 1983 TV special, Leonard Nimoy: Star Trek Memories.
It’s a delightful story even in abbreviated form, but here is Nimoy telling it again, thirty years later, for the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project. In this longer telling, Nimoy situates the hand gesture more fully in its original, Jewish liturgical context.
Nimoy’s observation that “people don’t realize they’re blessing each other” when using the Vulcan salute took on extra poignance in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to rage.
Given the necessity for physical distancing, several commentators—in outlets ranging from StarTrek.com to CNET, and even in the U.S. Congress and the British government—suggested the Vulcan salute could and should replace handshakes, at least for the time being.
(See? We Star Trek fans have always been ahead of the curve!)
It’s hard to think of a more “epic” use of the Vulcan hand salute!
What a wonderful legacy for Leonard Nimoy to have left: Not only his magnificent work over five decades as Spock, but also a way for the world to safely signify best wishes for the blessings of “peace and long life!”