The following is a brief summary of some thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.
In the end of Parshas Noach the Torah tells the story of the Dor Haflagah - the people who built what is colloquially known as the Tower of Babel. Prior to telling the story of the Dor Haflagah, the Torah recites the children and grandchildren of Noach. Among these generations were the children of Cham, which includes Chush who was the father of Nimrod who was a might hunter and who established kingdoms in many lands including Bavel.
After describing these generations, the Torah writes that Ashur left these lands and he built many cities including Nineveh. (Bereishis 10:8-11).
R' Frand quoted two Rashis on these pesukim. The first Rashi on 10:9, states that Nimrod was a mighty trapper, who would ensnare people's minds with his mouth and lead them astray to fight Hashem. The second set of Rashis on 10:11-12 state that when Ashur saw that his children were listening to Nimrod and rebelling against Hashem, Ashur picked up and went with them. He then built Ninveh, the great city. Rashi underscores the greatness of the City by citing to a pasuk from Sefer Yonah which states that Nineveh was a great City for Hashem.
Where did the people of Nineveh learn how to be great? Indeed, it is a wonder that the City was able to do teshuva! Where did this strength come from?
R' Frand answered that the people of Nineveh were influenced by their ancestor who walked away from Nimrod with his family and built his city so that his children would not be corrupted by Nimrod. Since Ashur was a role model and he sacrificed to take his family away from Bavel and build his own city on the countryside, the people of that city, many, many generations later, were able to use that power to take the incredible and inspirational steps towards teshuva.
R' Frand observed that there are people who are exceptional, even though their parents may seem to be plain people. Although when looking at the family, one does not see greatness, the person still has greatness in their genetic code. Because when a person's ancestor takes incredible steps and sacrifices to serve Hashem, the result is imprinted in their DNA and passed on for future generations.
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