The passuk states, “And Avram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his nephew, and all the possessions that he acquired.” The passuk then says “ואת הנפש אשר עשו בחרן” “and the souls that they made in Charan.” The Midrash Rabbah asks: if the entire world would gather together to create one gnat, they would be unable to insert a neshama into it; what then is the meaning of “and the souls that they made?”
Rashi explains that Avraham and Sarah reached out to inspire many people and bring them underneath the wings of the Shechinah, close to Hashem. They influenced people with their chessed and proved to people about the world’s Creator, Hashem, bringing the awareness of Hashem to 1,000’s and 10,000’s of people. Avraham converted the men and Sarah converted the women, as it states עשו, in the plural form, “they made.” The Torah treats the conversion which Avraham and Sarah caused, people leaving idolatry to recognize the truth and believe in Hashem, as though they created these people anew.
Onkelos translates ואת הנפש אשר עשו as “and the souls that they subjugated to the Torah.” This seems that these people are considered being created anew because they were taught Torah. This is as the Gemara brings: Reish Lakish said, “Anyone who teaches the son of his friend Torah is as though he made him as it says ואת הנפש אשר עשו….” Rashi says this is derived from Onkelus who translates “that they subjugated to the Torah.” The Torah treats the teaching of the Torah as though they made them.
The Tana D’evei Eliyaha brings: the total amount of the years of the world is 6,000: 2,000 years of emptiness; 2,000 years of Torah; and 2,000 years are the days of Moshiach. When Avraham Avinu was 52 years old the 2,000 years of Torah started, as it states ואת הנפש אשר עשו.. which Onkelos translates that they subjugated to the Torah.
Why indeed does the Torah consider the teaching of Torah as creating someone anew? The Maharsha explains that before a person acquires the knowledge of Torah he is not any different than an animal as it states ומותר אדם מן הבהמה אין “and that which a person exceeds over an animal is nothing.” By learning Torah, which is the purpose of the creation of mankind, one separates himself from the animals and transforms himself into becoming a “person.” Avraham and Sarah taught the knowledge of Hashem thereby elevating people from being in the group of animals, to the group of people.
May we inspire and influence others with the awareness of Hashem and teach His Torah to create new nefashos.