The Jewish Story Behind Spock

Leonard Nimoy, who passed away last week, explains how the hand-gesture of the Priestly blessing became Spock’s Vulcan salute.

Leonard Nimoy, the legendary actor known to the world as Star Trek‘s Mr. Spock, died last Friday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 83. In the video below, Mr. Nimoy explains the Jewish connection to the Vulcan salute.

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Comments (22)

(16) Ian Cannon, December 22, 2020 5:36 PM

Sadly missed!

What a beautiful man he was & a great ambassador for the Jewish people & Israel!! Goodbye Leonard/Spock! Alavashalom/May his soul rest in peace.

(15) Gerald N Lewy, August 17, 2020 11:48 PM

Cohaniim Blessings

When a Father or a Cohen is blessing you, why would you look at his face ? It is out of respect that you lower your face. But never should you turn your face away!
It is my Honour as a Levi, to wash the hands of the Cohen.
"Gedaliah Nacham, B' Moshe, Levi"

(14) Rafael Picon, March 2, 2015 6:03 PM

Jews traveling from planet to planet on a mission- sounds familiar

Star trek was a great series with cheesy looking aliens. There is a story within a story here. When Leonard took a peak at the ceremony nothing happened to him. when stories ,traditions and legends are put to the test , they are just that. It is a grave error when belief becomes fact simply because it cant be tested

Shoshana-Jerusalem, March 19, 2015 11:28 AM

Don't try it

So nothing happened to him and or to many more people. But what about all the others?
Also the rabbi didn't tell him that something has to happen, he said it "could". First check into the whole thing before you jump to faulty conclusions. Because a mistake in religious traditions in the other direction could be a much graver error. In some areas of Judaism people go so far that they don't even know what's a halacha and what isn't and write off major areas of Jewish law as tradition. So always investigate each thing on it's own.

(13) TMay, March 2, 2015 5:51 AM

Sad day.

Watch "Leonard Nimoy's Mame-loshn: A Yiddish Story" at
This video is an excerpt from a longer interview with a link to Youtube, about 10 minutes, cut from a 2 hour interview.
Yiddish was his first language.
Sorry to lose him. I was a fan of Star Trek.
2 Jews: Nimoy and Shatner
Live long and prosper.

(12) Barry Baldonieri, October 31, 2014 1:18 AM

Shalom Spock!

A beautiful story, told lovingly! I wonder if Mr.Spock lived to be 120 years old, not uncommon for Vulcans.

(11) Paul, October 15, 2014 5:22 AM


That is truly beautiful and awesome. G-d is indeed everywhere and in everything.

(10) Miriam, October 14, 2014 10:04 AM


But tragic. Where's his wife's cousin the Rabbi? Maybe he could invite them over for the Shabbat Project!

(9) shlomo, October 14, 2014 4:49 AM

tell a kid

If you want to get someone to do something, tell him or her not to do it! If his father hadn't told him not to look, we may never have had the Vulcan greeting.

(8) Samson, October 13, 2014 7:52 PM

That explains

Why the Enterprise always survived.

The logical Jew


Anonymous, March 1, 2015 7:32 PM

Those incredible Jews.

As the late Christian writer and broadcaster Dave Hunt would say, I'm not quoting verbatim but similarly, "Look at the Israel and the Jews. This tiny minority abused and despised throughout history and look at at what they've produced in scientists, writers, artists, musicians, nobel prizewinners. And look at the Arabs for allt their oil and wealth." And Dave gave their mumbers and showed that the milllions Israel and the Jews are outnumbered by the Arab world and he gives their amount of Nobel prizewinners. It's laughable in comparison now few. Try checking him out on-line.
God bless the Jews for what they've given us. Mazel Tov.

(7) Mati, October 13, 2014 6:35 PM

I agree with Baruch..

I told my best friend in the Navy about this a long time ago. He was a :Star Trek fan and an Sci Fi buff. He was also agnostic. I also told him that Yoda (a form of yodea) means "to know" and Jedi (another form of yodea) means knowledged. I explained to him that science fiction is filled with things about G-d and religion which of course, he didn't believe me. May he along with other agnostics come to learn of HaShem and His infiniteness and that he permeates and is involved with everything.

Dvora, October 16, 2014 9:58 PM

Sci-fi Torah

The "Matrix" too!

(6) Eli Marcus, October 13, 2014 2:35 PM

Embedding your own culture in what you do

I think it is marvelous that he had a chance to use an element of his own Jewish upbringing and culture in his acting career. If you pay attention to the dialog in the scenes on the planet Vulcan, you'll probably hear lots of words that are taken from our Siddur/prayers - and I think that's because much of the writing and production crew on the original Star Trek series were also Jewish, and they too used some of what they know from their own culture in the script. As the character Spock would remark: "Fascinating!"

(5) Anonymous, October 13, 2014 5:18 AM


This is awesome!!! Thanks for posting this!

(4) Baruch, October 10, 2014 8:50 AM

Live long and prosper

I was surprised that he does not talk about the words that go along with the hand gesture. "Live long and prosper", which is what the script had the Vulcans saying, is pretty much what the Midrash says is the meaning behind "Yevarechecha Hashem V'Yishmerecha", May Hashem bless you with good livelihood and watch over you physically.

Words, after all, matter. The words so clearly and simply add the profound Jewish meaning behind the gesture.

(3) Anonymous, October 5, 2014 6:46 PM

what a desecration

So he feels ok with taking a holy and private gesture, one that belongs to Kohianim and making it a commercial, film gimmick? He cheapened it. I guess he doesn't understand the holiness of it himself. How sad.

Gary, October 13, 2014 2:25 PM

Oh, get real and lighten up!

I am certain that hashem approved and enjoyedthe notoriety that this gesture received as a result of Nimoy's use of it in Star Trek. Anything that makes Jews and Jewish practice more mainstream and understandable to the population at lrge is a good thing. "Anonymous" should get back into the ghetto and time travel back to the 16th century...

Sally Brodsky, October 13, 2014 3:01 PM

Not a desecration

The sign is not in and of itself holy. I am glad he is sharing this with the world. Also "Yoda" speaks in a Hebrew sentence structure. I am proud of our contributions to the general culture.

(2) Dr.Alex PIster, October 5, 2014 4:29 PM

that was a kickback!

wow to see Leonard Nimoy again explaining the Vulcan salute was a rea treat. he's such a classy charismatic guy. also with that hair happening hes aged into a real cool handsome senior. so of course here goes: live long and prosper Leonard! ive got tons of great childhood memories of you and "Jim" the two Jews on the show!

(1) marty goldberg, October 5, 2014 1:57 PM

Very interesting story of the hand gesture, it definitely added to the Spock character and impacted a whole generation.

Anonymous, March 1, 2015 2:27 PM

An anecdote to the story....

Nimoy had revealed, elsewhere, that the female actor who played the role of T'Pau had to preset her fingers because she could not accomplish it voluntarily.


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