Rabbi Israel, the Koznitzer maggid, said: "One who is guilty of many sins and is prepared to repent should start to perform good deeds, pray devoutly, and be careful to avoid other sins. When he is secure in the righteous way he has undertaken, only then should he seek atonement for his former transgressions.

If he fails to heed this advice and fasts and mortifies himself, his determination to atone for his sins may weaken and he may give up his attempt at reformation. However, once he has embarked on the path of righteousness, it will be easier for him to continue."


excerpted From "Hasidic Tales and Teachings"
The Yom Kippur Anthology, ed. Philip Goodman
(JPS, 1992)