… but the rabbi spoke no Italian, and the priest spoke no Yiddish.
The Jewish people met and picked an aged and wise rabbi to represent them in the debate. However, as the rabbi spoke no Italian, and the priest spoke no Yiddish, they agreed that it would be a “silent” debate.
On the chosen day the priest and rabbi sat opposite each other. The priest raised his hand and showed three fingers. The rabbi looked back and raised one finger. Next, the priest waved his finger around his head. The rabbi pointed to the ground where he sat. The priest brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine. The rabbi pulled out an apple. With that, the priest stood up and declared himself beaten and said that the rabbi was too clever. The Jews had won.
Later the cardinals met with the priest and asked him what had happened. The priest said,
“First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up a single finger to remind me there is still only one God common to both our beliefs. Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God was all around us. The rabbi responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our sins, and the rabbi pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin. He bested me at every move and I could not continue.”
Meanwhile, the Jewish community gathered to ask the rabbi how he’d won. “I haven’t a clue,” said the rabbi. “First, he told me that he was going to beat me in three rounds, so I gave him the finger. Then he tells me that I was beating around the bush and I told him to get straight to the point.”
“And then what?” asked a woman. “Who knows?” said the rabbi. “He took out his lunch so I took out mine.”
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