Silence is beholden

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Silence is beholden

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:27 pm

One day long ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert to Catholicism or leave Italy. This produced a huge outcry in the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal: he would conduct a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish temple in Rome. If the Jews won it, they could remain in Italy; if the Pope won, they'd have to either convert or leave.

The Jewish people were represented in the debate by a wise and ancient rabbi. However, as he spoke no Italian, and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they agreed that it would be a silent debate.

On the chosen day, the Pope and the rabbi sat down opposite each other.

The Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.

The rabbi looked back across at the Pope, and raised one finger.

Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head.

The rabbi pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.

The rabbi pulled out an apple.

With that, the Pope stood up and declared himself beaten, and said that the rabbi was too clever. The Jews could stay in Italy.

Later, the cardinals met with the Pope and asked him what had happened.

The Pope said, "First, I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. The rabbi responded by indicating the God who is common to both our faiths. Then I waved my finger around my head to show him that God is all around us. The rabbi replied by pointing to the ground, to demonstrate that God is also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our sins. Then the rabbi pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin. In short, he outmanoeuvred me at every turn, and I just couldn't get the better of him".

Meanwhile, the Jewish elders had also gathered, and asked the rabbi how he'd won.

"I haven't a clue", said the rabbi. "First, the Pope told me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I gave him the finger. Then he declared that the whole country would be cleared of Jews, and I insisted we were staying right here".

"And then what?" asked an onlooker.

"Who knows?" said the rabbi. "He took out his lunch, so I took out mine".

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