Actually, ‘Live Long and Prosper!’
The Vulcan ‘salute” was devised by Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed the half-Vulcan character Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek TV series.
Nimoy said in an interview that he “decided that the Vulcans were a ‘hand-oriented’ people.”
(Sort of like some of my Italian relatives!)
This greeting first appeared in the 1967 Star Trek second-season opening episode, “Amok Time.”
Some say that the gesture is difficult for certain people without practice or the covert pre-positioning of the fingers.
Even some actors on the original show reportedly had to position their fingers off-screen before raising their hand into frame.
This difficulty may be due an individual’s manual dexterity.
The blessing gesture which is the inspiration for the Vulcan salutation?
In his autobiography
I Am Not Spock,
Nimoy wrote that he based it on the Priestly Blessings performed by Jewish Kohanim with both hands, thumb to thumb in this same position, representing the Hebrew letter
which has three upward strokes similar to the position of the thumb and fingers in the gesture.
The letter Shin stands for El Shaddai, meaning “Almighty (God)”, as well as for Shekinah and Shalom.
Nimoy wrote that as a child, his grandfather would take him to an Orthodox synagogue, where he saw the blessing in action and was impressed by it.