This summer we went to Israel. During one of the days in Jerusalem, our guide took our group to some steps that were walled up at the top. He asked us to sit down and rest a minute, and since it was hot and we’d been walking a while, there were no objections.
He began explaining that we were sitting on steps built by Solomon, from the Old Testament, that led up to the outer wall of the original temple. Some of the steps had been replaced over time, but the original steps were easy to identify because the stone was smooth hewn.
We looked where we sat and it was on an original step built by Solomon! OK, it doesn’t matter who you are, that’s just cool! Really cool!
The guide continued.
He talked about one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the Levites, who were the spiritual leaders where all of the Jewish priests come from.
Then he did something very odd. He held up both hands like he was Spock from Star Trek. He said Leonard Nemoy, who played Spock, was Jewish. He said as a boy during his Jewish training, Leonard Nemoy learned the blessing from the Levi priests, which included the hand signal Spock would gesture while saying, “Live long, and prosper”.
The gesture represents the Hebrew letter Shin (ש), which has three upward strokes like the divided fingers and thumb in the gesture. The letter Shin stands for El Shaddai, meaning Almighty God. The hand gesture isn’t a new Star Trek creation! It’s part of a Jewish blessing from the priests!
Honestly, I was skeptical at first, so when we got back to the hotel that night, I looked it up on line. Sure enough, it’s right! In fact, here’s an interview with Leonard Nemoy later in his life describing how the sign came about.
It just makes me want to go around flashing the letter Shin hand gesture, like it was a gang sign, and quote one of my all-time favorite passages of the Bible – the priestly blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26:
May the Lord bless you
and keep you;
May the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
May the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
We hold up the Vulcan hand sign, a Jewish blessing to you. May you know the Lord’s blessings, grace and salvation. May you know His spirit, follow His light, and hear the whispers He speaks to your heart!
Peace to your heart. Live long, and prosper!