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Jacob Joseph of Polonne

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Rabbi Yacov Yoseph HaKohain of Polonne, (-c.1784) (in Hebrew יעקב יוסף הכהן) is also known as Yaacov Yosef of Polnoye, was one of the first and most dedicated of the disciples of the founder of Chassidut, the Holy Baal Shem Tov.

Yacov Yoseph HaKohain was already an accomplished scholar when he attached himself to the Baal Shem Tov, and his becoming a disciple engendered much controversy. At that time, he was the rabbi of the city of Shargorod for several years, and he was expelled from his position on a Friday afternoon.

His book, Toldos Yaacov Yosef, (published on 1780), was the first chassidic work ever published. In it repeats the phrase, "I have heard from my teacher", 249 times. He is one of our foremost sources for teachings from the Baal Shem Tov. Reb Yaacov Yosef was somewhat known for his abrupt temperament.

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