Where did the Vulcan Salute come from?

spockThe Vulcan Salute is a hand gesture consisting of a raised hand, palm forward with the fingers parted between the middle and ring finger, and the thumb extended. Often, the famous phrase “Live long and prosper” is said after it. The salute was devised and popularised by Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed the half-Vulcan character Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek television series in the late 1960s.

Nimoy, who was raised in a traditional Jewish home, used a single-handed version of the Priestly Blessing performed by Jewish Kohanim to create the Vulcan Hand Salute for his character, Spock, on Star Trek. He has explained that while attending Orthodox services as a child, he peeked from under his father’s tallit and saw the gesture. Many years later, when introducing the character of Mr. Spock, he and series creator Gene Roddenberry thought a physical component should accompany the verbal “Live long and prosper” greeting. The Jewish priestly gesture looked sufficiently alien and mysterious, and became part of Star Trek lore.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulcan_salute; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priestly_Blessing

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