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70 Biblical nations
A person is born a Jew if he or she has matrilineal descent from a Jewish woman.

IF a person is born Jewish, his or her tribal affiliation is determined by a purely Jewish patrilineal descent from one of the 12 sons of Jacob. So in order to have a Jewish tribal affiliation, the person must have been born to a Jewish mother, and ALSO to a Jewish father who had this patrilineal descent.

If a person has only the matrilineal Jewish descent, but not patrilineal, then he or she IS a Jew, but with no tribal affiliation. (Likewise, a person who converts according to Torah Law to become a Jew does not have any tribal affiliation). That's what your Rabbi was saying. A person could be a "lost Jew" (born Jewish without knowing that his or her matrilineal line was really Jewish), but without belonging to one of the lost tribes if there is no patrilineal descent.

When Moshiach comes, G-d Himself will gather all the Jews, including all the "lost" Jews, to the Holy Land. There, with a spirit of prophecy, Moshiach will tell each Jew if he/she has any tribal affiliation, and if so, which tribe that is.
How is it that there are so many different racial looks? In a way, this could make some think that it's unlikely that everyone descended from the same family.
Daniel2 Wrote:How is it that there are so many different racial looks? In a way, this could make some think that it's unlikely that everyone descended from the same family.

As it is close to Passover and I am occupied with Passover preparations, I will attempt to answer very briefly and to the point.

Originally there was only one race. When Cham (Ham) the son of Noach sinned on the Ark by engaging in marital relations (which G-d had specified would be forbidden while the flood was upon the earth), G-d darkened Cham's skin to signify that he brought darkness upon the world with his sin.

The Talmud elaborates a bit more in relating the story of the two people who wagered that one could annoy Rabbi Hillel and bring him to get angry. His strategy was to ask Hillel annoying questions on the Eve of the Sabbath and disrupt him from his preparations. Some of the questions had to do with racial features of different ethnic groups, and Hillel calmly answered the question, explaining that different groups in different parts of the world were given different "racial" features to help them live comfortably in their different environments, such as some with broad feet to help walk in the mud, some with small eyes to shield them from excessive sunlight, etc.
Rabbi Yitz
Do different nations have different souls? If no, why they are different?
People of different ethnic groups are all human, but among them we find distinctive  differences in physical characteristics (for example, skin color, certain facial features), and we find that the ethnic groups are correlated with the geographical areas in which they developed historically, which have different climates, different agricultures, different natural resources, etc.

Likewise, the members of all the ethnic groups have human souls which are the image of G-d within the person, but we find some distinctive soul-characteristics in general for the different groups. For example: some ethnic societies are more peace-loving, and others are more combative; some are more inclined to kindness, and others are more inclined to strictness; some are more scholarly, and others are more satisfied with hard work.

Still, every single soul combines aspects of all those characteristics. It is just a matter of which characteristics predominate in the person's personality, and which are expressed more in different situations. For example, some people are more kind to others, and some people are more kind to themselves; some people are more strict towards others, and some people are more strict on themselves; etc.

This all stems from the fact that G-d makes everything in the creation through the influence of His 10 Divine attributes, of which 3 are intellectual attributes, and 7 are emotional attributes, as explained in these web pages:

Reflective of G-d's Unity, these 10 Divine attributes (the 10 sefirot, in Kabbalistic terminology) are not separate from each other, but each one includes and combines within it all of the others. Each sefirah (singular of sefirot) is given the name that indicates which of the attributes is predominate in that particular general mode of expression.

The human souls derive from the 10 sefirot, and the general soul-characteristics of each ethnic group are reflective of the particular sefirah which is the spiritual channel through which G-d creates that ethnicity. Thus, as an outcome of the sin of the Tower of Babel, G-d divided mankind into 70 original nations, each one reflecting the predominance of one of the 10 sefirot within one of the 7 emotional attributes (7 x 10 = 70).

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