When G-d chose Abraham to be his Public Relations Representative on this earth, He put his candidate to the test. Actually Abraham had ten tests to see if he were worthy of being G-d's dear friend and liaison to mankind.
One of those tests was to leave his elderly father in the Old Country, and go off to Israel.
For many immigrant Jews who choose a life in the Land of Israel, the Jewish homeland, the most difficult barrier that they face is leaving their elderly parents behind.
While, B"H, the parents are proud of their Israel-bound children, the older parents just don't want to pick up and move to a new country at their age. They're happy to visit and they're proud to hear all the doings of their family in their new home, but they just don't feel they can leave behind their homes of 40 or 50 years, their familiar surroundings and their lifelong friends.
B"H, the phone, email and skype help keep the new Israelis connected to their parents in the Diaspora (chutz la'aretz - it actually means "out of the land", like Exile). Separation is so difficult. I have no idea how Abraham did it. No wonder it was a test.
If life in Israel for the kids and out of Israel for the parents goes well, then everything is great, fantastic, amazing. But if a parent becomes ill, then the distance is torturous. No phone call is enough. No letter does the trick. And the child is always wondering, "What have I done?" "What should I do?" "Where is Scotty to beam me to my parent immediately."
Who speaks to the doctors? Who tells the nurse, "This person is important. He is not alone (really). This person has a loving family that is thinking of her, but they're far away." Who sees what care the parent is receiving, or not receiving?
You can always get on a plane if you've got the money, the time, vacation from work and someone to watch the kids. But then you've got to think, "Should I go now?" "Should I go later?" "How long can I go for?" "How long should I go for?"
These are difficult discussions that we Israeli children have with ourselves very often.
We learn from our sages that "Maasei Avot, Siman LeBanim", our forefathers' acts were signposts for their descendants.
Somehow Abraham overcame the test of separating from his father.
B"H, G-d new that our generation is not as strong, and we have many ways of communicating. I'm sure Scotty's "beam" is coming soon.
Until then, my best wishes for the good health of all parents of Olim, and blessings for strength and wisdom for all.
Then the se