The Divine command to leave home and begin the journey to the land of Israel is directed towards Abraham only. While he quite naturally takes his wife with him - ishto k'gufo (one's wife is like oneself) our Sages assert - Abraham also took along his orphaned nephew Lot , a detail that is actually noted twice at the beginning of parshat lech lecha. This is a noble act but one we would expect from the founder of the Jewish nation.
Yet the relationship between Abraham and Lot was a most complex one. Soon after their return from Egypt Abraham, recognizing that they were bound to have sharp disagreements, suggests they each go their separate ways. Lot seeing the "well watered plains of the Jordan " settles in the vicinity of Sedom, whose inhabitants were "evil and wicked to G-d exceedingly" (13:13). Choosing economic gain over spiritual growth was no doubt painful for Abraham to stomach. Nonetheless, soon thereafter Abraham risked his life going to war against four kings to save his nephew - an act above and beyond the call of duty.
The deep caring that Abraham displayed towards his nephew is reflected in the rabbinic teaching that while an angel can only perform one task (hence the need for three angels to visit Abraham - see Rashi 18:2) the same angel who came to heal Abraham continued on to save Lot . Abraham's health and Lot 's well being were one and the same.
After Abraham's successful battle, the king of Sedom goes out to greet Abraham, and Malchizedek offers gifts to Abraham; however the Torah records nary a word of gratitude from Lot . How sad! The relationship appears to be severed as there are no more recorded encounters between uncle and nephew. While one may have thought that as the sole male survivor of the destruction of Sedom, Lot would return to his uncle's home, such does not appear to be the case, not even for a visit. The Torah specifically mentions the presence of Yishmael and Yitzchak at the funeral of Abraham (25:9) yet Lot is nowhere to be found. Apparently while Abraham deeply loved and cared for his nephew their worldviews were so different that Abraham thought it best that the love be expressed from afar.
This deep concern coupled with distancing one self seems to be a trend in Abraham's life. "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had born to Abraham mocking (Yitzchak)" (21:9). Despite Abraham's obvious love for Yishmoel (see Rashi on 22:1) he acquiesces to Sarah's demand to throw Yishmoel out of the house, but only with great reluctance, and only after G-d's explicit instructions. Here too the love towards Yishmoel would have to be expressed at a distance - the spiritual protection of Yitzchak demanded no less.
This caring even if distant relationship can be seen not only in his relationship with his family members but also with society around him. When confronted by Avimelech regarding his claim that Sarah was his place" (20:11). Yet a mere six verses later "Abraham prayed to G-d and G-d healed Avimelech".
No greater example of Abraham's care and concern coupled with distance and disdain is needed than his bargaining and pleading on behalf of the people of Sedom; people whose way of life he disdained yet people whom he cared deeply for. So deeply did he care for these wicked people that he was willing to challenge G-d, initially "accusing Him" of acting unjustly.
"Abraham made a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned" (21:8). Finally at the age of 100 Abraham has his beloved child whom he expected would carry on his legacy. The love was great but Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son if that was to be the wish of G-d. And while they walked together to and from the akediah there is no more interaction between the two, despite the fact that the Torah spends many verses on the death of Sarah and the marriage of Yitzhak. It is only at Abraham's funeral where they are "reunited". Here too the great love of Abraham towards Yitzchak could not be fully expressed.
There were many people who Abraham came in contact with whose lifestyle repulsed him, who he would not want to be near or allow to influence his children. But there were none whom Abraham did not care deeply for, pray for and be concerned about. Yet all was to be done for the glory of G-d and if that meant sacrificing a child so be it. even if he was willing to sacrifice them to G-d.
It is Abraham who is the founder of the Jewish people and it is his example that we must emulate. There may be many whom we dislike and distrust but our concern must be for all. "G-d is good to all and His mercy extends to all his living creatures". Shabbat Shalom!