Reputation is rarely proportioned to virtue. We have seen a thousand people esteemed, either for the merit they had not yet attained or for that they no longer possessed.
There are difficulties in your path. Be thankful for them. They will test your capabilities of resistance; you will be impelled to persevere from the very energy of the opposition. But what of him that fails? What does he gain? Strength for life. The real merit is not in the success but in the endeavor; and win or lose, he will be honored and crowned.
When we pray, we should feel the seriousness of speaking directly to the Almighty. The concept of seriousness should not be mistaken for sadness since sadness is a transgression. Seriousness should stem from the true joy of fulfilling a mitzvah [biblical law or good deed], the joy of having the merit to pray to the Almighty.
It is especially important to express your feelings of joy when giving charity to a poor person. Show the person you are glad to be able to help him out. Showing displeasure giving charity erases the merit of giving.
They believe their words. Everybody shows a respectful deference to certain sounds that he and his fellows can make. But about feelings people really know nothing. We talk with indignation or enthusiasm; we talk about oppression, cruelty, crime, devotion, self-sacrifice, virtue, and we know very little beyond the words.
Among well-bred people a mutual deference is affected, contempt of others is disguised; authority concealed; attention given to each in his turn; and an easy stream of conversation maintained without vehemence, without interruption, without eagerness for victory, and without any airs of superiority.