• feldmesterin

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 https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c845bf20-4ff9-0133-da49-00505686d14e#/?uuid=c989e290-4ff9-0133-d7a2-00505686d14e, 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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