The Pope and the Jew

The Pope and The Jew

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 leave.

The Jewish people met and picked an aged but wise Rabbi, Moishe, to represent them in the debate.

Rabbi Moishe, however refused, saying it was no use and the Jews might as well start packing.

The people were distraught.

Out of the weeping and wailing, a voice was heard. It was Yakel saying I will do it.

The people said you Yakel? you are just a dumb schmuck. How could you, who cannot even read the Torah, face the pope?

It is either me or move, replied Yakel.

So the people agreed.

However, as Yakel spoke no Italian and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they all agreed that it would be a silent debate.

On the chosen day, the Pope and Yakel sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Yakel looked back and raised one finger.

Next the Pope waved his finger around his head. Yakel pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope then brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine. Yakel pulled out an apple.

With that, the Pope stood up and declared that he was beaten, that Yakel was too clever and 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 and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our sins.

He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin.

He had me beaten and I could not continue.

Meanwhile, the delirious Jewish community was gathered around Yakel.

What happened? they asked.

Well, said Yakel, First he said to me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I said to him, Up yours.

Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I said to him, Mr. Pope, were staying right here.

And then what? asked a woman.

Who knows? said Yakel. He took out his lunch so I took out mine.

Oy veh…

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