Parshas Noach begins with what should be a description of Noach’s family. However, we see that the pasuk introducing his “Toldos”, or offspring, is interrupted with an assessment of his character. Rashi famously answers this question by explaining that the pasuk is trying to teach us that the main progeny of the righteous are good deeds.
The word “Toldos” is used many times in the Torah. What is truly fascinating about Rashi’s definition in this context is that he is highlighting the character of the father of all humanity. Noach and his children are the only survivors of the flood. He is the biological father of every person on earth. This definition is not used for the offspring of a righteous person who does not have children, or anyone else. The fact that Noach, the primal father, is used to teach this lesson emphasizes the idea that whatever we leave on this earth, be it children, wealth, or fame, the ultimate legacy is our actions. Therefore, no matter what we accomplish, we must always strive to walk with God.
High School Judaic Studies Teacher