In this week's Parsha, the Torah tells us: 'A'leh Toldos Noach, Noach Esh Tzadik'-- 'these are the offspring of Noach, Noach was a righteous man...' and then the Torah goes on to list the names of Noach's biological kids. But how else can we understand the word 'offspring'?
Rashi tells us that offspring also refer to the Ma'asim Tovim-- the good actions-- of Tzadikim. The main offspring of Tzadikim are their Ma'asim Tovim!
I think this an important message for us as well. Our time in this world is limited-- we don't live forever. The money, fame, and possessions we receive in this world are here today and gone tomorrow; and even if we're blessed to have them again tomorrow, its temporary; the only things we'll bring with us in the world-to-come will be the Torah we learnt, the Torah study we've supported, the mitzvos we've performed, and the Ma'asim tovim we did in this world.
I think Tzadikim recognize this and Rashi wants us to recognize this as well and This is the reason Rashi writes that this is the 'main offspring' of Tzadikim-- because they should be the main 'offspring' for us as well-- because This is what's really important in this world and these are the only things we'll bring with us to the next world.
May we be Zoche to recognize what's really important in this world so we can live meaningful lives in this world and have what to bring with us to the world to come.
Kayla Rus bas Bunim Tuvia One of the themes of Yom Kippur is that we are like angels. We wear white and we say “Baruch Shem” out loud. We stand in davening and refrain from eating and drinking. While it may sound good, one has to wonder whether it is admirable. There is a machlokes as to who are greater, men or angels. According to R’ Saadiah Gaon and the Zohar, mankind is greater by virtue of his free will. According to the rambam and ibn Ezra, angels are greater. According to the view that mankind is greater, why do we emulate angels on Yom Kippur? Furthermore, how are we to understand the idea that we only emulate angels one day a year?
The answer is that both mankind and angels are great, but in their own separate ways. The advantage of mankind is that we have free will and can choose the Torah. Angels have the advantage that they are purely spiritual beings who have a difficult time sinning. On Yom Kippur, we are saying we want to be like angels who are sin free since that is the theme of the day. In truth, both mankind and angels are great and each species has their own strength. It would be wise for us to learn from angels and try to be sin free. However, there is a deeper message as well. Just like we are supposed to learn from angels and admire them for their strengths, so too we should admire each other and learn from each other’s strengths instead of fighting with each other. This message is especially appropriate before yom kippur. May we learn from each other to get along before yom kippur so we could be zocheh to see the redemption in our time.