The critical aspect of hashkafa is the understanding of lovingkindness, justice and mercy. We allude to these three attributes every day in the Shmoneh Esrei. What is the meaning of the word nora, awesome? Mercy is the solution to a problem created by justice. Justice is responsible for your destiny and creates the conditions in which you can merit the World to Come or not. Justice says that if you do what's correct, you will receive eternity without an obstacle of nahama d'kisufa. If you do not merit it, then you will earn instead annihilation - meaning you in terms of your consciousness completely disappear from existence. This is not death. Death is the separation of body and soul. Annihilation means that both your body and your soul are gone, wiped out. Justice takes nahama d'kisufa and externalizes it, turning it into two options. If nahama d'kisufa is your nature, you cannot eliminate it because it is an integral part of who you are and governs how you react to things. But if we cannot change the nahama d'kisufa, then how do we understand it vis-a-vis our free will? What's the idea of madregot, of levels? How do sins and the performance of mitzvot affect your madrega? What governs what the attribute of mercy does? When does it work? Under what conditions? Mercy is the greatest of all the attributes because it goes against the laws of existence, in order to save man.