Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert or leave Italy.
There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal. He would have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy, if the Pope won, they would have to convert or leave.
The Jewish people met & picked an aged but wise Rabbi Moishe to represent them in the debate. However, as Moishe spoke no Italian & the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they all agreed that it would be a “silent” debate.
On the chosen day, the Pope & Rabbi Moishe sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand & showed three fingers.
Rabbi Moishe looked back & raised one finger.
Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head. Rabbi Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.
The Pope then brought out a communion wafer & a chalice of wine. Rabbi Moishe pulled out an apple.
With that, the Pope stood up & declared that he was beaten, that Rabbi Moishe was too clever, & that the Jews could stay.
Later, the Cardinals met with the Pope, asking what had happened. The Pope said, “First, I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there is still only one God common to both our beliefs. Then, I waved my finger to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine & wafer to show that God absolves us of all our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had me beaten & I couldn’t continue.”
Meanwhile the Jewish community gathered around Rabbi Moishe. “How did you win the debate?” they asked.
“I haven’t a clue,” said Moishe. “First he said to me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I gave him the finger. Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews & I said to him, we’re staying right here.”
“And then what?” asked a woman.
“Who knows?” said Moishe, “He took out his lunch, so I took out mine.”

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