Since Rabbi Moishe spoke no Italian, and since the Pope spoke no Hebrew, it was agreed that the debate would be silent.
At the historic meeting, the two spiritual leaders sat gazing at each other for a long while, charging their spiritual batteries as it were.
Finally the Pope held up three fingers. Rabbi Moishe held up one finger.
The Pope nodded, paused in thought, then circled his finger around his head. Rabbi Moishe pointed to the ground.
The Pope frowned, paused, then gestured to one of the Bishops, who brought the Sacred wine and wafers. But undaunted, Rabbi Moishe produced an apple from his robe, held it up to the light, then took a big bite.
The Pope threw up his hands. Rabbi Moishe had won. The Jews could stay in Italy.
In chambers, his Bishops crowded around. They were not certain; what had happened? The Pope spoke wearily.
“I indicated the Holy Trinity,” he said, “But the Rabbi pointed out that all are one.” The Bishops nodded. “I pointed all around us, to show that God is Everywhere … but the Rabbi pointed to the ground to indicate that God is right here!” The Bishops nodded again. “Finally,” said the Pope, “I showed him the Holy Sacrament of Redemption, the wine and the wafer, but he just produced an apple to show the Original Sin. There’s nothing else. He won.”
And on the road, the other Rabbis were questioning Rabbi Moishe, who explained, saying, “The Pope said we had to leave in three days, and I held up one finger to say ‘Up Yours!’ Then he circled all around to indicate that we had to leave, and I pointed to the ground to indicate that we’re staying right here!” The Rabbis nodded.
“Then what happened?” asked the Rabbis.
“I don’t know,” said Rabbi Moishe. “He brought in his lunch, so I had mine.”