I am looking for more information regarding the following custom or minhag excerpt:
"It was customary to keep a candle burning in the death chamber during the week after burial; one report has it that each night of the week a small wax candle and a cup of water and salt were set on the spot where the head of the deceased lay when he died. "When I read my account of this custom to R. Israel Isserlein," wrote Joseph b. Moses, his disciple, "he shrugged his shoulders, but he didn't tell me to cross it out."
Page 180 of Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion By Joshua Trachtenberg
I remember reading something similar in a book on google books called Jewish magical practices (or similar title (kabbalah?). This is what I remember:
It was customary for Jews in Italy in the fourteenth century to place a cup filled with water and salt, and a candle for a week following the burial in the room of the deceased. Rabbi (do not remember name) was asked or wrote regarding if this practice was proper to keep or whether they should be advised to stop it. Rabbi (do not remember name) responded that he did not know where this practice originated but to keep it.
Does anyone know what this book was called and where I may find it?
Does anyone know what is the source of this minhag?
My mother's family practices it to this day. They explain that the candle is placed there to guide the soul of the departed as he makes his way through to heaven for each of the seven days after he or she died. The water is placed there for the soul to drink it, and the salt, I am not sure about, but I think it is for cleansing.