The moment the couple entered the hall, circles of dancing enveloped the groom on one side and the bride on the other. The generosity, the joyfulness, the spontaneity of those jumping in to the middle to entertain the groom were unlike anything I'd seen. I so wanted to contribute, but I froze. There was just way too much concern for how conspicuous I'd look.
The Jewish idea of freedom is the ability to do your soul's desire, which explains why ridding ourselves ofchometz (leavened bread) is so central to Passover. Chometz is arrogance; it was just not possible to do my soul's desire with the degree to which I took my thinking so seriously.
For quite some time, much to my dismay, I remained self-conscious at weddings. Until one day, a dear friend from my first days in yeshiva was getting married. I looked around at the sparse audience. Not many of his Mexican family and friends had made the trip over. Neither did he have a large yeshiva to join in the celebration. When the music began, I saw that someone needed to take the initiative. It was surprisingly easy to jump in
We learn that the alternative to the arrogance of chometz is matza. The Jews ate matza upon leaving Egypt because they left in haste; there wasn't time to let the dough rise. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains the significance of having no time: the Jews weren't in control. The Exodus from Egypt was not the culmination of normal human forces - internal strife within Egypt's regime, charismatic Jewish leadership, etc. The Jews left the slavery of Egypt when and how G-d chose to take them out.
Part of the wisdom of humility is understanding that things needn't happen on our time, that it's possible to remain desirous and interested in a goal even as it seems to be beyond us. The story of our redemption from Egypt, from inhibition at weddings, and from every other enslavement is a wonderful cocktail: the humility to not take our thinking too seriously, the patience to stay interested in something new, and the trust in an Intelligence that is guiding us, not on our terms, toward wonderful new destinations.