As he was sifting through his boxes, he saw the unopened tablecloth. He didn't think much of this discovery at the time and just kept it sandwiched between his used books, journals and socks. Lots and lots of socks The same day she received the wedding invitation from her ex-boyfriend, she went to a fancy store to buy a gift for the new couple. It had been years since they broke up, and she was truly happy for him. So why was she crying when she got back into her car with the tablecloth she just purchased? It wasn't just an ordinary tablecloth either. It was decorated with a plethora of Jewish and family symbols that evoked strong emotions. "This tablecloth should be on our Shabbat table, not in his home with some stranger," she wailed as she fumbled with her car keys. She hadn't thought of her ex-boyfriend in romantic terms in years. Besides, she was dating someone at the time. These thoughts were as foreign to her as philosophical discussions on MTV. She pulled herself together, mailed the tablecloth to Jerusalem with a thoughtful card and went on with her life. Her ex-boyfriend received the gift and placed it in one of his boxes of socks for his upcoming move from his bachelor pad to his new apartment. He thought it was really kind of his ex-girlfriend to send a gift. She even apologized for not being able to come to the wedding. Three weeks later, he got married. Some marriages, like exotic plants in non-indigenous environments, don't "take." Their union lacked the soil, nutrients and water it needed to thrive. A few months later, the ex-boyfriend turned ex-husband found himself moving out of his new apartment back into yet another bachelor pad. Once again, he was surrounded by other single guys who whined about how much they wanted to get married, but, fortunately, not to each other. As he was sifting through his boxes, he saw the unopened tablecloth. He didn't think much of this discovery at the time and just kept it sandwiched between his used books, journals and socks. Lots and lots of socks. Three years went by. He went out with many women, but no one even came close to becoming his second Mrs. Right. His blind dates taught him a lot about the human condition and his increasing pain threshold. He found out that his ex-girlfriend was now someone else's ex-girlfriend. He also learned that she was planning on moving to Israel. Like any other fellow Jew, he wanted to help make her immigration as easy as possible. He picked her up at the airport and helped her get settled at a friend's house. They agreed to meet for coffee the next day. While he had fantasies of getting back together with her, she was fed up with men and wanted to focus on her profession in her new country. She saw herself as being an honorary aunt to his future children. As planned, they got together at a quaint outdoor cafÃ© the next day. They talked. They laughed. They split the bill and the tip. They got married five months later. Friday afternoon before their first Shabbat together, he took her still unopened wedding gift out of its hiding place and handed it to her. "Do you want to help me set the table?" he asked. They opened the present together and spread it on the table. When she saw the set table, she started crying, and it wasn't just because she finally got him to help around the house. She remembered her tears in that parking lot in America three years ago. Her prayer had come true. The gift really was meant for their Shabbat table after all. He started crying too. While he was caught up in the emotion of the moment, he was also worried that he had created a dangerous precedent by helping with the housework.