The ability to create continuity is not only important in itself and significant for the future, but it even changes the significance of the past.
Therefore, one must ultimately judge a person based on the larger picture: what he did and what is left after him.
A person is judged according to the deeds that he performed during his lifetime and according to the events that he indirectly effects after his lifetime.
The greater his influence, the more he retroactively changes the total image of his essence as an individual.
There could be an individual who was only a minor figure during his lifetime but who ultimately succeeds in reaching major accomplishments – even if these are achieved a hundred years after his death.
Even after a persons death, the actions of his children and grandchildren can change the image of the person himself.
The Midrash often notes that there are wicked people whom one should not judge without taking into consideration the whole range and entire network of their descendants, and from that vantage point one is forced to judge them differently.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz