Leonard Nimoy, our favourite alien in the Universe, Mr Spock, asked his director one fine day,
" What can I introduce into the show (Star Trek T.O.S.) about my my character? -What are we going to discover about vulcans?- What will we learn about them? We need to do something special when vulcans meet each other"
"Well, what do you suggest?" asked the director
"Well we have this greeting scene, T'Pau meets Spock on Vulcan. (Shes the Matriarch) Military people salute, people shake hands, what do vulcans do?" stated Leonard.
Have you ever wondered where the "live long and prosper" Vulcan Greeting, Earths equivalent of the handshake originated from? Leonard Nemoy described how when, he was a kid between 7-8 years old, he used to go to the synagogue with his parents during the high holidays and sit with his father, grandfather and brother downstairs in the in the orthodox hall.
(He was at an assembly of people where he was the honoured guest speaker.)
"There was a point in the ceremony when the Kohen (Priest) got up to bless the ceremony. Then 6 to 7 men, the Kohanim (Priests) got up on the Bimah (location from which worship is led) to bless the congregation. But they did'nt just bless the congregation, they blessed the congregation!"
"The chanting began and the Kohanim with their special cloaks over their heads blessed the congregation. This was a very special occasion."
Leonard demonstrated this for everyone at the gathering. It was very unexpected.
He had a special cloak on standby which he put over his head and held up his hands with the cloak resting over them. He made special sounds and gave the blessing. (I felt genuinely awed to have witnessed this. I watched something of such special, deep significance to Leonard Nemoy and he chose to share it with the fans, so openly. Wow. This was a rare occasion. The video had drawn me in and I actually felt part of something special.
"It was quite an event." Nimoy's dad said "don't look " and of course Leonard being a curious kid naturally did and survived.
"The belief is when the Kohanim do the incantation of prayer the Shekinah (Divine Presence) enters the hall. Everybody in the hall had their heads bowed over so they could'nt see. The image is so powerful, Shekinah, you don't look, dare look to save your life. This is a very important ceremony. I peeked and survived".
-What Leonard saw was these guys standing, cloaked, holding out their arms and hands with splayed fingers ( he demonstrated the Live Long and Prosper greeting with both hands) moving around incanting. -
-So from that day forward Leonard Nemoy our Mr Spock practised these hand gestures until he got it perfect- So how long did it take? The host used the words
"Diligent practise and self denial" and smiled with a pleased look on his face. They say seeing is believing well, I'm guessing that our Science Officer practised the Vulcan " Live Long and Prosper" splayed fingers until he had it down pat.
Even though i could'nt see the gathering of people on the computer screen from where i was smiling, i could tell they were doing it too and i could hear laughing. Leonard Nemoy was so genuine, only he could have enlightened people, entertaining and expanding their minds in such an enjoyable way.
By the time Star Trek came around the famous " Live Long and Prosper " Vulcan greeting was perfected for Mr Spock. So Leonards talking to his director and says
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Star Trek T.O.S.
" Suppose we do this" ( Leonard demonstrates the splayed finger gesture to his director, presumably) and his director said
"Okay" was the green light. The big go-ahead.
Leonard Nemoy recalled what happened next, rather emotively.
" So we had to get it into the show, this felt right, we just had to get it in there. So we went to Celia Lovsky ( actress playing T'Pau, the ruling matriarch of Vulcan. At the time she met Spock in " Amok Time " she was a high priestess carried in on a chair. This was the episode Leonard spoke of. The first ever greeting between vulcans was premiered here. ) and we told her what the plan was, Leonard will do this and you'll do this. She could'nt do it!"
"Not everyone could, she did'nt have the years of diligent practise and self denial like I had" jested Leonard.
"We showed Celia how to do it, (The Vulcan Live Long and Prosper Greeting with splayed fingers), with the help of her other hand, out of sight of the camera. When i raised my hand she raised hers. Thats how we got her onto the show."
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Star Trek T.O.S.
Thanks for reading this far. Live Long and Prosper!