Daf Yomi Kesubos 92
When Chasidim daven, they wear a cloth sash around their waist called a gartel, as a symbolic separation between the more this-worldly lower half of the body and spiritual upper half.
The story is told of a Misnaged (opponent of Chasidism) who jeered at his Chasidic neighbour, ‘When a Sefer Torah is passul (invalid) we take the gartel from beneath the cloak of the Torah and place it upon the cloak on the outside. Clearly, you Chasidim, wearing your gartels on the outside of your clothes have admitted that you are passul!’
The Chasid replied, ‘Actually, the reason we place the Torah’s gartel on the outside is to remind us that it needs fixing. I too wear my gartel on the outside to remind myself that I need fixing.’
When the Misnaged heard these profound words, he was awestruck and immediately resolved to start donning a gartel to daven.
Reuven sold all his fields to Shimon and Shimon went and sold a single field to Levi. Reuven’s creditor then showed up demonstrating a lien on the property.
Rava taught: He can claim from either Shimon or Levi. But this ruling was made only in a case where Levi bought an average piece of land from Shimon. But if he bought superior or inferior land, Levi can say to him, ‘That’s why I toiled to purchase land unfitting for your claim.’ And the creditor must go to Shimon to claim the average property.
A superior product is obviously better than an average product. But in a certain way, even an inferior product is better than an average one. When you recognize something is inferior, you understand that it’s going to take hard work to fix it up. When Levi buys an inferior piece of property, does he buy it with the intention of treating it like he would his superior property? Of course not. He buys it to fix it up and make a profit. Many successful people have made a fortune buying inferior properties, fixing them up and flipping them for a much higher price than they paid and invested.
In contrast, an average field will produce averagely. On the one hand, it’s not producing superior crop, but on the other hand, it’s not inferior enough to warrant investment to fix it up and flip it. That’s why Levi toiled to purchase either a superior or inferior piece of property but knew that there’s little to be gained from an average piece of land.
Sadly, many people fall into lives of averageness and mediocrity. On the one hand, they’re not reaching their potential but on the other hand they’re not performing poorly enough to make the decision to pull their socks up. Any employer will attest to this idea – great employees are wonderful and bad employees can be fired. The worst employees, however, are the mediocre workers who are just doing enough to get by. They did nothing wrong, so you can’t get rid of them; but they’re really not doing a great job.
In life, being average is the worst place to be because you get stuck in a rut and don’t feel compelled to make a change and become who you were destined to be. You are a child of the Almighty! He has chosen you for greatness. You have unlimited potential and it’s time to unleash your inner true self! You have the power to be an incredible contributor to the world! You have the power to be an incredible parent, spouse, child, friend, neighbour, community member! Stop settling for mediocrity; G-d wants you to be magnificent!
Don’t ever be average. It’s time to don the gartel of life and admit that you are an unfinished vessel. It takes hard work and painstaking effort to achieve greatness. May you merit pulling yourself out of mediocrity and becoming everything the Almighty destined you to be!