Tag Archives: lost item

Rabbi Meyer

Background: Informant is a 19 year old, Jewish American/Argentinian college student. They are from the Chicago area but now live in Los Angeles. The informant has a long history of Jewish education and traditions.

Informant: My story is about Rabbi Meyer Bolanese. Basically, this is one of the famous rabbis that kind of are Jewish scholars and evryone refers to them in their interpretations of the torah and Jewish texts and they also are known for having special powers. So Rabbi Meyer’s power is to help you find an item you’ve lost. So when you’ve lost something your supposed to not panic and do some certain rituals. I think that they differ based on different communities that do this but the one that I know is that you’re supposed to put an empty glass in the corner of a room and you say a specific prayer and then rabbi meyer is supposed to send his powers to help you find whatever object you’ve lost. 

Reflection: I found this piece of folklore really interesting as it takes Jewish belief and adds a magical, folkloric aspect to it. There is an idealization of the rabbi going on that makes him into a magical figure, taking the power beyond religion and into a form of supersticious, folklore belief. The part about the empty glass is especially folkloric, as it is a ritual that is performed to find a lost object. 

Turn Over a Glass

So Romanian tradition, if you uh lose something, you can not find it, umm you can turn a glass, an empty glass, you can turn it over on the table and think about what you lost. And then after that you will be able to think about it and find it. And I, I have experience that. The only time I wasn’t able to find something was when it was truly lost and wasn’t in the house. 

Background: This informant has grown up in Romania and has absorbed some of the folk superstitions from Romania. They only tend to believe these superstitions if they have already experienced their effects.

Interpretation: The flipping of the glass may signify that you are making a conscious effort to find something. Since you have to actively think about the object it almost reinforces that you will find it. The glass staying flipped over may also serve as a reminder to try and find it.

Cups to Find a Lost Item (Colombia)

Context/Background: The informant is Salvadoran and Mexican-American and grew up with folk beliefs such as that of conjuring a lost item. In this piece, she describes the methods of finding something that has been lost.

[Speaking face to face with physical items such as pictures supporting the information described]

“So the thing I’m trying out right now, and this is from Colombia, is um… if you take… let’s say if you lost something, you put a cup… you take a cup, you put it upside down, you fill it with water, throw out the water, put it upside down and whatever you need will appear.”

Introduction: The informant was introduced to this practice through their mother.

 Analysis/Interpretation: This is interesting because I feel like I’ve seen a few different methods of attempting to find a lost item across cultures and a commonality that I’ve registered is the idea of putting energy out which reaffirms that one will find the item seems present. I’ve previously heard of many “speaking it into existence” ideologies where people tend to put forth verbal affirmations in an attempt to conjure this into a real-life, tangible setting. In this instance, there’s a specific physical aspect manifesting this in which I can see people finding comfort and confidence.