One of the interesting questions prompted by the first few Parashiyot in Sefer BeReishit is why Avraham was worthy to start a chosen nation, and not Noach, who was a "perfectly righteous man." R' Shimshon Pincus explains the difference between the two figures with the following powerful parable:
A business has employees and owners/partners. An employee can be hardworking, loyal and honest, but ultimately what he cares about is his paycheck. If the company has a division in Malaysia that's having financial difficulties, it's not his concern as long as it doesn't impact his own livelihood. In addition, with all due respect to "town hall meetings," an employee has little if any say over the direction of the business. A partner is different in these regards. He cares very deeply about every aspect of the company because it is his, he is invested in the entire company.
Noach was a model "employee" of God, righteous and pious. Yet we don't see him working for the salvation of his generation or praying for them to be spared from the great flood. In contrast, Avraham Avinu dedicated his life to spreading knowledge of G-d throughout the world. When he was told of the impending destruction of Sodom, he challenged God by pleading for the lives of the inhabitants of the city (BeReishit 18). He viewed himself as a partner in G-d's creation, with a responsibility to the world as a whole and with the standing to try to influence matters. With this attitude, he was fit to be the father of the chosen people. We, as his descendants, should view the world through the same lens-- not as employees but as partners.
As we enter into the long and dark “vinter necht” (winter nights) we must strive to maximize our time. This is a period of the year where there are no Holidays. There is little sunlight and much darkness. We must shine the light through our Limmud HaTorah and performance of Mitzvot. We must view ourselves as partners with God in the creation of the world and do the best we can to bring Kavod Shamayim through all of our actions.
May we merit seeing the ultimate light on all of Klal Yisroel with the coming of Mashiach Tzidkeinu BeMiheira BeYameinu, Amen!