We must know our tradition and learn from it. Second, we must know that all our most basic spiritual roots are nourished and strengthened at one source -- Scripture.
Showing mercy to others, like being poor, or mourning, or being meek, or like hunger and thirst, is a quality of soul that necessitates death, self-denial, perhaps even significant personal loss.
To hunger and thirst for righteousness even amid the difficulties of life is a sign of life, of awakening and of awareness. It is an escape from the tendency to despair.