Auction 69 Part 1 Rare and Important Items
Tuesday, 3.12.19, 17:00 (Your local time)
Israel
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LOT 42:

Toldot Yaakov Yosef – Korets, 1780 – First Edition – First Printed Chassidic Book – Segulah Book

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Start price:
$ 15,000
Estimated price:
$20,000-40,000
Auction house commission: 23%
VAT: On commission only
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Toldot Yaakov Yosef, commentary on the Torah based on Chassidic teachings, by R. Yaakov Yosef HaKohen of Polonne. Korets: Tzvi Hirsh son of Aryeh Leib [Margolies] and son-in-law Shmuel son of Yissachar Ber Segal, [1780].
Toldot Yaakov Yosef, the first Chassidic book to be printed, was authored by the kabbalist R. Yaakov Yosef HaKohen of Polonne (d. Tishrei 1781 - Chassidic lore records his birth in the 1660s, ascribing him a life of close to 120 years), a leading and close disciple of the Baal Shem Tov and the first to disseminate Chassidism. This book is the most important and authentic source of the Baal Shem Tov's teachings, containing over 280 references to teachings the author personally heard from the Baal Shem Tov, emphasized throughout the book and beginning with the words "I heard from my master".
This book was especially cherished by Chassidic leaders, who ascribed it great holiness. The Maggid of Mezeritch commended the author as having merited revelation of Eliyahu and reached lofty heights. R. Pinchas of Korets attested that a book of such stature has never yet existed, and its teachings originate from Heaven. He would customarily say that all new books do not totally conform with the truth, except for the books of the rabbi of Polonne which are "teachings from Paradise", and that with each quotation "heard from my master" one can resurrect the dead[!]. The Saba of Shpoli would recommend putting this book under the head of an ill person as a Segulah (LaYesharim Tehilla).
When R. Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk immigrated to Eretz Israel, he met R. Pinchas of Korets who queried "Why did the rabbi from Polonne print one thousand books at the price of one gold coin per book; had he printed a single book, I would have paid for it a thousand gold coins…".
During the course of the battle against Chassidism, this first edition was publicly burned in Brody and other places, which accounts for the extreme scarcity of this edition (Encyclopedia L'Chassidut, II, p. 277).
Stamp on the leaf 1: "Daniel son of R. A. – D.I." – the famous and wealthy R. Daniel Yoffe (Itzig) of Berlin (1723-1799), head community leader of Berlin and all Prussian communities from 1764 until his passing in 1799. Known as a book and manuscript collector, he founded in his home a library and study hall for rabbis and scholars to come learn by him, and even supported them financially. R. Yosef Teumim, the Pri Megadim, composed most of his books in the house of R. Daniel Yoffe in Berlin, and he mentions and acknowledges him in the prefaces of his books. Another stamp on the same page (covering text): "Beit Midrash of the Ashkenazi Community in London – Jews' College London".
[1], 202 leaves. Title page is not original, and is a photocopy on old paper. 32 cm. Good condition. Stains and light wear. Damage to text on leaf 1 (repaired). Inscriptions and stamps. New, elegant leather binding.
Stefansky Chassidut, no. 605.

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