Parshat Noach starts by declaring that “these are the toldot [typically toldot is used to denote children] of Noach,” and digresses to expressly point out that Noach was righteous and moral (6:9-10). Only in the following passuk (verse) are Noach’s three sons named. Why does the Torah seem to interrupt its narrative to share this?
Rav S. R. Hirsch suggests that character is a person’s primary “product,” In this case, toldot alludes not to Noach’s progeny but rather to the good deeds that would follow after him. Noach’s fortitude to remain righteous and walk with G-d despite the corrupt world around him is critical to produce offspring and serve as the example for the future of all humanity. As we begin the journey of the Torah, we are given the foundational ingredients for our development of character: introspection, faith, and inner strength.