The Pope And Jewish Community

Several centuries ago, the Pope decides that all the Jews have to leave Rome. Naturally there is a big uproar from the Jewish community. So the Pope makes a deal. He’ll have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Jew wins, the Jews can stay. If the Pope wins, the Jews leave the city.

The Jewish community meets and picks an aged Rabbi, Moishe, to represent them in the debate. Rabbi Moishe, however, can’t speak Latin and the Pope can’t speak Yiddish. So it’s decided that this will be a “silent” debate. The Pope agrees, and a date is set.

The day of the great debate comes. Moishe and the Pope sit opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raises his hand and shows three fingers. Moishe looks back at him and raises one finger. The Pope then waves his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe points to the ground where he sits. The Pope pulls out a wafer and a chalice of wine. Moishe pulls out an apple.

The Pope stands up and says, “I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay.”

An hour later, the cardinals are all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope says, “First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground and showing that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?”

Meanwhile, the Jewish community crowds around Moishe. “What happened?” they ask.

“Well,” says Moishe, “first he says that the Jews have three days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he tells me that this whole city’s going to be cleared of Jews. I told him that we were staying right here.”

“And then?” asks a woman.

“I don’t know,” says Moishe. “We broke for lunch, and then he said we could stay.”