Jake Lever is a successful cardiologist living in the upscale Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. When he dozes off at the hospital where he works, he dreams that his brother, Benjamin, tells him that they are okay. Jake is confused and is baffled after receiving a phone call later that day from his mother informing him that his brother, who was an ultra-Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, has died suddenly. He feels guilty for not having kept in touch with his brother for several years. After Ben’s funeral held in Brooklyn, Jake finds out that because his brother’s wife Leah has been left without children, they must perform a ceremony called halizah to release them both from the religious obligation to conduct a levirate marriage.

Jake and Leah agree, but Jake changes his mind after seeing that Leah is wearing a necklace with exactly the same hamsa that his brother gave him. Dating from before Benjamin left home for college, the amulet reminds Jake of how much he loved his big brother. He pulls Leah aside and tells her that he doesn’t want to deny his brother’s existence, which is what he believes the halizah vow requires of him. After deciding that she wants to leave her mother’s home, become independent, and start college, Leah agrees to Jake’s alternate offer to marry him and move with him to Washington but maintain a platonic relationship. Jake is constantly busy with work at the hospital, his girlfriend Carol has little patience for his new “wife” and Leah adjusts to finding her way around a new city. As Leah becomes more liberal in her religious outlook, Jake finds himself drawn back into his Jewish roots. Eventually, true love arises, and the two find that the greatest gift Benjamin has left them is each other. {read}