"These men from our synagogue would cover their heads with their prayer shawls, and they were shouters— these were old, Orthodox, shouting guys. About a half a dozen of them would get up and face the congregation, chanting in a magical, mystical kind of way. They would start off by humming.” Nimoy hums. “And they’re swaying and chanting. And then the guy would yell out: ‘Y’varechecha Adonai!’ And then the whole bunch of them would, like a chorus, respond, ‘Y’varechecha Adonai!’—all six of them. It was really spooky.
“So, the congregation was all standing, and my father said to me, ‘Don’t look.’ And in fact, everybody’s got their eyes covered with their hands or they’ve got their heads covered with their prayer shawl, the entire congregation. But I peeked, and I saw these guys doing this. So I introduced it into Star Trek. But I said to this rabbi cousin of ours, ‘To this day, I’m not really sure why my father said, Don’t look.’ And he explained, ‘The traditional belief is that during that blessing, the Shekhina—the feminine presence of God—enters the congregation to bless the congregation. And you shouldn’t see God, because the light could be fatal to a human. So you close your eyes to protect yourself.’ ‘Well!’ I said. ‘I never knew that!"
Leonard Nimoy. May his memory be a blessing.
This the sign for the Hebrew letter 'Sh' Shma Yisrael Hear o Israel
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