Aching head? Not quite, thank G-d. Aching muscles and near-hoarseness are my Simchas Torah injuries (I won't highlight those individuals who may have suffered minor migraines over the weekend...) But, getting back into a five-day work week with nary a Yom Tov in sight, does tighten the tension around my temples.
Rosh Hashanah through Simchas Torah is the "Yiddles in Wonderland" potpourri of everything from introspective remorse to careening Torah dances. Through this past month we've shape-shifted through contrition, resolution and celebration. We've eaten more than we should have, prayed more than we normally would have and have hopefully participated as well as we could have. G-d, in his infinitely imaginative way, has provided us with enough stimulation and inspiration to make the holiday season electric.
Now, the spiritual hangover starts as we head back to the drudgery of normal life. In truth, there are some lingering Yom Tov tunes, a few leftover meals and (hopefully) a New Year's resolution or two still in place, so the season isn't quite forgotten yet. But, it will be soon; buried in bills, traffic and the overfull inbox of life's incessant monotony.
And that's exactly the point.
Floating along through spiritual experiences that G-d has placed there for our benefit is great, but says nothing of our own abilities. We're essentially passengers following a predetermined itinerary through a slew of spiritual destinations.
Cheshvan, the month we start this Shabbos, is when you get to test what you are able to offer to the world. You've now stepped off the holy Contiki tour and won't be getting any supernatural pickups for some time. Now's the time for you to make an impact; to step into the "ordinary" world and deliver your unique spiritual message.
G-d didn't create the world so that He could achieve great spiritual things, but so that we could. Now that we've disembarked off his cruise ship, we get the chance to make our mark on the world.
To be Jewish over Yom Tov is tiring, but expected. To be Jewish in daily life- that's an achievement.