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218) “And Abraham drew near, and said, ‘Will,’” etc,. Who saw such a merciful father as Abraham? It is written about Noah, “And God said unto Noah, ‘The end of all flesh is come before Me,’” and Noah kept silent. He did not say a thing and he did not ask for mercy. But when the Creator told Abraham, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah,” it immediately writes, “And Abraham drew near and said, ‘Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?’”
219) Abraham, too, did not do it fully, as it should be. But Noah did nothing: he asked neither for the righteous, as did Abraham, nor for the wicked, as did Moses. Abraham demanded proper justice, so a righteous would not die with a wicked. He began with fifty righteous and got to ten. He did, but he did not complete, since he did not ask for mercy whether there were righteous or there were no righteous. Abraham said, “I do not wish to demand reward for my actions,” meaning he did not believe in himself, that he could ask for such a reward that by his merit the wicked would be redeemed from the judgment.
220) But the one who did fully perform is Moses. When the Creator told him, “They have turned aside quickly out of the way,” it immediately writes, “And Moses besought the Lord his God,” until he said, “And now, if You will, forgive their sin and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written.” And even though they all sinned, he did not move from there until He told him, “I have pardoned according to your word.”
221) But Abraham considered only if there were righteous among them. And if there were no righteous among them, he did not pray. This is why there was no such man who protected his generation as Moses, the loyal shepherd.
222) “And Abraham drew near, and said,” meaning he positioned himself to say, “Suppose there are fifty.” He began with fifty, which is the beginning for Daat, down to ten, which is the end of all the degrees. This is so because there are five levels in each degree, emerging one below the other on the five Behinot [discernments] of the Masach. Thus, there are fifty Sefirot at the level of Keter, which are five Sefirot KHB TM, in each of which are ten Sefirot. At the level of Hochma there are only forty Sefirot, since it lacks the ten Sefirot de Keter. At the level of Bina there are thirty Sefirot because the ten Sefirot of Hochma are missing, too. There are twenty Sefirot at the level of Tifferet because the ten Sefirot de Bina are absent, too, and only ten Sefirot at the level of Malchut, the end of all the degrees.
223) Abraham prayed until ten. These are the ten days between Rosh Hashanah [Hebrew New Year’s Eve] and Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement], during which the ten Sefirot of Malchut are corrected to rise to Bina. This is the reason why he began to pray from fifty to ten, which are the ten Sefirot of Malchut, corrected in the ten penitential days. And when he reached ten, he said, “From here and below, which is where Malchut is not mitigated in Bina, is not a place that stands in repentance, unmitigated in Bina, called ‘repentance.’” This is why he did not ask for less than ten.