218. "And Abraham drew near, and said, Will You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" (Beresheet 18:23). Rabbi Yehuda says, Who has met a father as merciful as Abraham? Come and behold. In regard to Noah, it is written, "And Elohim said to Noah, The End of all Flesh has come before Me... Make you an ark of gopher wood" (Beresheet 6:13-14). And he remained silent and did not beg for mercy, while as soon as the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Abraham "the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great...I will go down now, and see," it is written, "And Abraham drew near, and said, Will You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?"
219. Rabbi Elazar said, Even Abraham did not act perfectly, as he should have done, but Noah did nothing. HE DID NOT ASK FOR MERCY ON BEHALF OF THE RIGHTEOUS, AS ABRAHAM DID, OR ON BEHALF OF THE SINNERS, AS MOSES DID. Abraham demanded a proper judgment so that the righteous would not perish with the sinners. He started with fifty righteous people and eventually descended to ten. Then, he stopped. He did not plead for Mercy in any case, WHETHER THERE WERE RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE OR NOT. This is because Abraham said, I do not want to demand any reward for my actions, MEANING THAT HE DID NOT BELIEVE THAT HE DESERVED ANY REWARD FOR ASKING TO FREE SINNERS FROM THEIR PUNISHMENT.
220. The one who acted perfectly was Moses. Because as soon as the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, "they have turned aside quickly from the way...they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it," (Shemot 32:8) it is written, "And Moses besought Hashem his Elohim..." (Ibid. 11) And the verse continues until he said, "Yet now, if You will forgive their sin-and if not, blot me, I pray You, out of Your book which You have written" (Ibid. 32). And even though they had all sinned, he did not budge from there until He told him, "I have pardoned according to your word" (Bemidbar 14:20). THERE IS A SECTION MISSING HERE THAT MUST HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED AS THIS PASSAGE WAS COPIED. AND THIS IS THE CORRECT VERSION, We have discussed and learned that he did not budge from there until the Holy One, blessed be He, forgave Yisrael, as it is written, "And Hashem reconsidered the evil which he thought to do to his people" (Shemot 32:14), and "I have pardoned according to your word." THIS MUST BE THE CORRECT VERSION FOR IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE ZOHAR NOT TO MENTION THE PARDON FOR THE SIN OF THE CALF AND TO READ, "I HAVE PARDONED ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD" (BEMIDBAR 14:20), WHICH WAS SAID ABOUT THE SPIES.
221. But Abraham considered only whether there might have been any righteous among them. And because there were not ANY RIGHTEOUS AMONG THEM, he did not PRAY FOR ANY OF THEM. This is why there has never been a person in the world who protected his generation as has Moses, the Faithful Shepherd.
222. "And Abraham drew near, and said..." means that he prepared himself before beseeching, "Perhaps there are fifty righteous..." He started with fifty, which is the beginning of Knowledge, until he descended to ten, which is the number of the last of all grades.
223. Rabbi Yitzchak said, Abraham stopped at the number ten, which represents the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, DURING WHICH THE TEN SFIROT OF MALCHUT ARE PREPARED TO ASCEND TO BINAH. This is why he started TO PLEAD for the fifty, but stopped at ten. THESE SYMBOLIZE THE TEN SFIROT OF MALCHUT, WHICH ARE CORRECTED DURING THE TEN DAYS OF REPENTANCE. As he reached ten, he said, From here downward, MALCHUT IS NOT SWEETENED BY BINAH, WHICH IS ALSO CALLED 'REPENTENCE.' Therefore, he concluded that this was not a place for repentance, and he did not CONTINUE IMPLORING AND reducing the number under ten.