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Hi Rabbi Steve, 
This is Phylis Vergales, Neal's daughter. I want to thank you again for a
beautiful service.  I find peace in relating the story to friends of how Alan and
Lisa came to find you. I have no doubt that my father had a hand in that
introduction and I know we honored his wishes beyond what he even imagined.

 I am home in Virginia now and sitting shiva. My friends have been extremely
supportive and I have had no trouble making a minyan and then some every night.
I feel very loved and it makes it a little easier to get through the days

Sincerely,   Phylis Vergales

Dear Sirs
Apparently there is a festival that you celebrate which includes an orange and putting something in it??? can you enlighten me on this please, as my daughters Nursery acknowledge all festive occasions and we have little information on this.
Regards and thanks for your help on this
Mrs Liza Ricketts
Dear Liza,
Thank you for writing to me at Zera Emunah.  Regarding your question:  The "custom" of putting cloves into an orange is not really part of any of the Jewish Holidays.  It has been used by many people on various fast days including the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and at the end of the Sabbath in a ceremony called Havdalah ( Ending of the holy day).  The idea is that the smell of the cloves and the orange revive the physical senses after a period of intense prayer and fasting. I hope this has been helpfull to you and I suggest that you give it a try.  The smell is very pungent and refreshing and has no religious conotation.
Rabbi Steve.

On Tue, 13 Sep 2005 21:18 , mariam echenim sent:

Pls do dead ones really go to heaven.  I am a nigeria jew but since i lost my husband
i find it difficult to beleive what people (friends come to tell me that he has gone to heaven.
i try to tell them i dont have evident in their mistranslated bible to prove that people
dont go to heaven pls i need your help about that and my children have stop for i know that to
inother to have money to sent them to school. we have been preaching the last message
but we need rabbi for we have more than 3 million nigeria who need help in order to worship the true father the way it is suppose to be. pls we need rabbi and when is the feast going to take place.
i can help to organised them if you can pay us visit. Thanks.
you can contact me through this email address- marial224real or postal address

Dear Mariam;                                                                                                                             Thank you for writing to me at Zera Emunah.
Yes, in a manner of speaking, all righteous and repentent souls which are a "spark of the Divine" return to Hashem (G-d).  There, with Hashem, the souls either wait for the appearance of the "True Moshiach" or are, according to some opinions, returned to earth to finish their assigned tasks.  At the appointed time,  known only to G-d,  the "True Moshiach" will be revealed.  Then the world will return to the state of perfection that existed prior to man's expulsion from Gan Eden  (The Garden of Eden)   All the righteous souls that ever lived,  both Jewish and non-jewish,  will be resurrected and clothed in renewed and perfected bodies.  We will all  "Know G-d"  and live in His presence,  here,  on the earth,  in a perfect and peaceful world.   No more war,  disease,  hunger,  poverty or death.
May He come soon.
Sincerely, with Ahavat Yisrael, Rabbi Steve

   I am very interested in many religions and their 
history.  I am confused with a certain aspect of Judaism. Do the
Jewish people consider being Jewish their religion or their 
nationality?  I know Catholics who are German or French or Irish, and 
they would never say their nationality is Catholic, that would be
their religion.  So if people of Jewish faith are from Russia or 
Germany or Israel wouldn't that be their nationality and being Jewish 
their religion?  Please advise as I ponder this baffling 
Peace and Prayers, 
Miss Colette 

Dear Miss Colette;
I can well understand your confusion. Sadly to say, many Jewish people don't really understand this aspect either.
First; as the decendants of Abraham, Issac and Jacob the Jewish people are a family. This family is often referred to as " The Children of Israel" or "National Israel" ( This is quite different from the State of Israel which has a geographical location in the middle east.)So no matter where a Jewish person is born he or she is a member of this "family unit".
Secondly; Judaism is the religion that is practiced by most of the 15 million identifiable Jewish people in the world. I say most because there are Jewish people who have decided not to identify with the Jewish religion and have opted to follow some other religious path or consider themselves agnostics or atheists. This decision, however, does not change their identity. To the "family" they are still Jewish. So to recap: The Jewish people are a "Family/Nation" made up of people from many nations wherin we have been born. Judaism is the religious observance for the majority of this family.
Thank you for writing to me and I hope that you will write again.
Rabbi Steve 



The 7 Noachide Laws

The Jewish idea is that the Torah of Moses is a truth for all humanity, whether Jewish or not. The Torah (as explained in the Talmud - Sanhedrin 58b) presents seven mitzvot for non-Jews to observe. These seven laws are the pillars of human civilization, and are named the "Seven Laws of Noah," since all humans are descended from Noah. They are:

  1. Do not murder.
  2. Do not steal.
  3. Do not worship false gods.
  4. Do not be sexually immoral.
  5. Do not eat the limb of an animal before it is killed.
  6. Do not curse God.
  7. Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.

Maimonides explains that any human being who faithfully observes these laws earns a proper place in heaven. So you see, the Torah is for all humanity, no conversion necessary.

As well, when King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, he specifically asked God to heed the prayer of non-Jews who come to the Temple (1-Kings 8:41-43). The Temple was the universal center of spirituality, which the prophet Isaiah referred to as a "house for all nations." The service in the Holy Temple during the week of Sukkot featured a total of 70 bull offerings, corresponding to each of the 70 nations of the world. In fact, the Talmud says if the Romans would have realized how much they were benefiting from the Temple, they never would have destroyed it.




Today's Quote

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 13:12:03 -0700
From: Aart/Irene van Dijk <aivandijk@shaw.ca>
Subject: Gaza Strip and West Bank
To: RabbiSteve@ZeraEmunah.org

Dear Rabbi,
Although I am not Jewish I would very much like to know if the above land, the Gaza strip in particular, was part of the land promised by God to His people.  This is very puzzling to me;  if it was part of the promised land, then it belongs to the Jews.  If not, and the Palestinians have a legitimate claim to the land, why did Israel invest so much over the years to settle this land and protect their claim? 
I would like to find out more about the names of people and areas written about in the Bible with those of today.  Perhaps you can refer me to a source where I can find out what happened to the various people mentioned in the Bible, e.g. Moabites, and where they are settled today.
I hope you won't find my questions offensive, I really am interested in finding the truth.
Irene van Dijk
Dear Irene,
Thank you for your letter.
If you will look in the Book Of Joshua, in any Bible, Chapter 15 specifically describes the land and the cities that G-d gave to the tribe of Judah.  Verse 47 in the authorized King James Version of the HOLY BIBLE states: " Ga'-za with her towns and villages unto the river of Egypt and the Great Sea, and the borders thereof:"
If you will study the entire book of Joshua you will see that other areas which are presently considered parts of other countries listed also. According to the Bible these lands will ultimately be returned by G-d to the people of Israel in the "END OF DAYS"
Rabbi Steve

On Sun, 30 Oct 2005 19:34 , 'walt chapman' sent:

>Rabbi I have one more question.That has concerned me. That is Why do when
>you spell Gods or Lord that it is done in this manner G-d or L-rd This in
>not just you and so that is why I ask This week I have read 6 poem done by a
>Jewish man and all are done the same way. If you perfer not to tell me I
>will understand .Thank you for your reply back to me .
>God Bless
>Walt Sorry but when it come to God I ask lots of
Dear Walt
Thank you for writing to me at Zera Emunah.
The tradition that results in the writing of the name of G-d or L-rd in this manner is derived from the commandment " Thou shalt not take the name of the L-rd your G-d in vain." If we write the name fully there might be a desecration of the name if we merely were to throw the paper away or use it for,say, "scratch paper" etc. When the fully written name is on a document that is no longer able to be used ,for instance a Holy Torah Scroll, that item must be buried in a Jewish Cemetary or stored in a safe place set aside for such writings until a buriel can take place.
Rabbi Steve


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