he said, "Let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak" (Genesis 18:30).
On the surface, it appears
that Avraham was pleading with God not to become angry at him for his bold request. This interpretation seems difficult, however. Avraham was offering his prayers on behalf of the people of Sodom. Why should God become angry at him for that?
When Avraham first started
to plead for the sparing of the Sodomites, he said (following the translation of Onkelos), "Will You, in Your anger, eliminate righteous people along with the wicked?" (18:23). This should be understood in light of the Talmud's dictum (Bava Kamma 60a) that "Once permission has been given to
the Destroyer to destroy, he does not distinguish between the righteous and the wicked." This is why there are often cases of mass tragedies, when a righteous minority suffers along with the wicked majority. Avraham thus pleaded with god that He should not act upon His anger, for in that case the result would be the elimination of "the righteous people along with the wicked."
In our verse as well, then,
we can understand Avraham's request "Let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak," - to mean "Let not my Lord act with anger - against the people of Sodom - so that I can pray on behalf of the few righteous individuals who may live there." -- Brisker Rav