Live Long and Prosper
As I read the TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general. portion each week, I look for something that inspires me to create a piece that will help illuminate God’s word. The Torah portion this ShabbatShabbat is the Sabbath day, the Day of Rest, and is observed from Friday night through Saturday night. Is set aside from the rest of the week both in honor of the fact that God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. On Shabbat, many Jews observe prohibitions from various activities designated as work. Shabbat is traditionally observed with festive meals, wine, challah, prayers, the reading and studying of Torah, conjugal relations, family time, and time with friends., Tetzaveh, goes into great detail about sacred garments for the priests, AaronBrother of Moses, chosen as Moses' interlocutor. His Hebrew name is Aharon. and his sons, to wear. In traditional synagogues the Priestly Blessing is offered by a direct descendent of Aaron, known as a kohen, who covers his head with a tallitA four-cornered garment to which ritual fringes (tzitzit/tzitzi'ot) are affixed. The knots in the fringes represent the name of God and remind us of God's commandments. The tallit is worn during prayer and can also be drawn about oneself or around the bride and groom to symbolize divine protection. and holds out both arms, palms down, with the fingers of each hand forming the Hebrew letter shin ש (which represents the name “Shaddai,” meaning “Almighty” God).
Being a lifelong Trekkie, this also makes me think of Leonard Nimoy and the now famous Vulcan salute, “Live long and prosper.” When we lived in New York, my husband Andy and I (devoted Trekkies that we were!) often went to Star Trek conventions. Through the years, we were fortunate to meet most of the original cast, including our favorite, Mr. Spock. Once we heard Leonard Nimoy tell the story of how he based the Vulcan salute on the Priestly Blessing he remembered from his childhood, when he went to synagogue with his grandfather.
I love this story—and it is what inspired my design this week. I know that many of us are deeply concerned about the spread of the coronavirus, and the uncertainty and unrest that it is causing. As I was reflecting on the Torah portion, and thinking about the saying “Live Long and Prosper,” I realized that if—in addition to washing our hands a LOT—we all greeted each other the “Vulcan way,” we could help reduce the chance of spreading the virus. I welcome you to share this image and spread the word!
Joanne Fink is world-renowned calligrapher, designer, author and teacher and founder of Zenspirations. Follow her on Instagram @JoanneFinkJudaica @Zenspirations.