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166) Since Abraham was told of Isaac, it is written, “And the men rose up from there, and looked out.” See how the Creator leads all the people with His quality of kindness, and especially for those who follow in His ways. Even when He seeks to judge the world, He arranges those who love Him to be rewarded with something before that judgment comes to the world.
167) When the Creator loves a person, He sends him a gift. And what is the gift? Poor, so as to be rewarded by it. And when he is rewarded by it, the Creator draws upon him a string of grace that extends from the right side, spreads over his head, and registers him so that when the Din [judgment] comes to the world, that saboteur will be careful not to harm him. He looks in that list and then retreats from him and is careful with him. For this reason, the Creator first gives him something to be rewarded with.
168) When the Creator wished to execute judgment over Sodom, He first rewarded Abraham and sent him a gift—three angels by which he would be rewarded, so as to save Lot from there. It is written, “God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the upheaval.” It does not say, “Remembered Lot,” since he was saved thanks to Abraham. “Remembered” means that He remembered for him what he was initially rewarded with by the three angels.
169) One who is rewarded with righteousness with people when there is Din in the world, the Creator remembers that righteousness that he performed because at any time when a person is rewarded, it is registered so for him above. Hence, even while there is Din in the world, the Creator remembers the good that he had done and was rewarded with people, as it is written, “Righteousness delivers from death.” For this reason, the Creator first arranged for Abraham something by which to be rewarded, through which he would save Lot.
170) “And the men rose up from there,” from the meal that Abraham had fixed for them, and by whom he was rewarded. Even though the angels did not need a meal, he was still rewarded by them. And nothing was left of that food, so that Abraham would be rewarded by it. It is written, “And they ate,” for it was consumed and burned in their fire.
171) They were three angels: Gabriel is fire, Michael is water, and Raphael is wind. Thus, only Gabriel could burn the food. However, each was included in his friend, so that each had fire, water, and wind. This is why it is written about all of them, “And they ate,” for there was fire in each of them, in which the food was burned.
“And they saw God, and they ate and drank.” This eating that they ate means that they were fed by the brightness of Divinity. With their eating, they caused nourishment from that side to which Abraham was attached—right, Hassadim. This is the reason why they did not leave anything of what Abraham gave them, to extend as much Hassadim as possible.
172) A man needs to drink from a cup of blessing so that he will be rewarded with the blessing from above through his drinking. Similarly, the angels ate what Abraham had fixed for them so as to be rewarded with nourishment from the side of Abraham—light of Hassadim—through their eating, since the nourishments extend to all the upper angels from that side.
173) “And looked out” is the awakening of Rachamim to save Lot.
174) “And Abraham went with them to send them on the way,” to accompany them. If Abraham knew that they were angels, why did he accompany them? Even though he knew that they were angels, he did with them as he was accustomed to doing with people and he accompanied them because this is what a man should do, accompany the guests. This is so because the whole Mitzva [commandment] of hospitality depends on the accompanying, which is the completion of the matter, and a Mitzva is called so only for one who completed it.
175) And while he was walking with them to accompany them, the Creator appeared to him, for it is written, “And the Lord said, ‘Do I hide from Abraham that which I am doing?’” The Lord [HaVaYaH] means He and his courthouse, which is the Nukva, since the Creator was walking with them.
176) When a person accompanies his friend, he extends Divinity to bond with him and to walk with him on the way, to save him. This is why a man should accompany his guest, since it bonds him with Divinity and extends Divinity upon him, to bond with him.