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Mestn Feld - a memory from Pruzhany (Pruzhene), Poland

This short description of the practise is found in the Yizker Bukh 'Pinkes fun der shtot Pruzhene' - a memorial book written by former Jewish inhabitants of Pruzhany after the destruction of their community in the Holocaust, and published in 1958. Under 'Pruzhener Folklor' recorded by A Fayvushinsky, the below is recorded in a list of 'Zababones' - Superstitions - the whole of which I'm currently working on translating. The whole book can be found online at, and this extract on p. 202.

Cemetery measuring’ is used in cases of severe illness. It is done in this way: several women walk around the cemetery and measure like so: one holds a ball of cotton in her apron, and a second coils the thread around the cemetery. Later, the thread is placed in a bowl of wax, then divided into shorter threads and rolled into candles. While extending the thread, one says the following:

כ'האָב אַ מאַמע צײטעלע

פֿאַר איר נשמה אַ קנײטעלע

דרײט מען דאָס פֿעדעמל שטאַרק

לאַנג, לאַנג.

I have a mama, Tseytele,

For her soul - a kneytele (candle wick)

The thread is spun, strong

long, long. The candle is later placed as a gift in the Bes-Medresh - the house of study and prayer.

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