parasha Lech Lecha 5783 – Pivotal Points
“Ten generations from Noah to Abraham, in order to make known what long-suffering is His; for all those generations kept on provoking Him, until Abraham, came and received the reward of all of them.” – Pirkei Avos 5:2, sefaria.org
“Based upon the merit of Abraham, G-d did not destroy again the whole world. Abraham taught them that repentance was possible, and therefore G-d did not destroy the world.”– English explanation of the Mishnah; sefaria.org
Inasmuch that Noah and his family was spared when “Noah found favor in the eyes of H’Shem,” so, too, according to the mishnah, the world was spared through the merit of Abraham. In light of this comparison, two points become evident. First, the implementation of G-d’s Attribute of Mercy, as a means of relating to mankind, despite His strict Attribute of Justice. Second, that in each case, a righteous person was chosen to offer teshuvah (repentance) to others, and become the means through whom redemption would be offered to all of mankind.
In regard to Noah, it is evident that G-d favored him due to his righteousness, for, following the verse, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the L-RD,” the Torah states that Noah was “a man righteous and wholehearted; Noah walked with G-d” (Genesis 6:8-9). As for Abraham, there is no such immediate mention of his character, when he is called out from the land of Ur, to the land that he would be shown. He is told by H’Shem, that he would become a great nation, that his name would be great, and that the nations would be blessed through him. And, the “persons that they had acquired in Haran” were converts to Abraham’s newfound monotheistic faith.