When discussing the destruction of Sodom, the Pasuk records, “Vayhi BeShacheit Elokim Et Arei HaKikar, VaYizkor Elokim Et Avraham VayShalach Et Lot…,” “And it was, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Avraham and he sent Lot…” (19:29). Rashi comments on this Pasuk that it was not Avraham himself who was being remembered here; rather, it was what Lot did for Avraham in Egypt by not divulging Avraham and Sarah’s true relationship.
Rav Shlomo Kluger wonders why Rashi chose to change the meaning of the verse. Why is it impossible that Hashem remembered Avraham? He answers that only something that has been forgotten can be remembered. Since Hashem loved Avraham and He spoke with him often, it is not possible that He could have forgotten him. Therefore, Hashem must have been remembering something else.
Rav Aharon Kotler asks a different question on this Rashi: why was Lot’s silence the act that was remembered here? Why was it not Lot’s hospitality, for example? He answers that Lot’s hospitality was not a distinctive quality of his own character. Since Lot had been around Avraham a long time, he learned to be hospitable from him and it almost became a habit. His silence, on the other hand, was from his own qualities, not just a habit learned from Avraham.
Thus, though Avraham was clearly the greater Tzadik and was always on Hashem’s mind, it was not his goodness that saved Lot, but rather the positive qualities Lot developed for himself. What Lot gained under his own power, though seemingly more trivial, was far more valuable in this case than even Avraham’s greatness.