The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his shiur this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistencies are the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.
In Bereishis 46:29, we read of the reunion of long separated father and son as Ya'acov comes to Egypt and meets Yosef. The Torah indicates that when they met, Yosef cried on Ya'acov's neck. Rashi explains that Ya'acov did not reciprocate the gesture since Ya'acov was saying Shma.
The obvious question of course is - why was Ya'acov the only one saying Shma? If this was the proper time to say Shma, then both Yosef and Ya'acov should have been saying Shma!
The Gur Aryeh explains that Ya'acov's recitation of the Shma was an expression of gratitude to Hashem. Ya'acov had been living for decades thinking that his favorite son was dead. After Ya'acov had given up hope of ever seeing Yosef again he suddenly was told that Yosef was still alive. Upon seeing Yosef, Ya'acov became so happy that he recited Shma as an expression of gratitude to Hashem.
R' Frand then quoted R' Yehoshua Hartman who explained that Ya'acov had a greater degree of happiness in seeing Yosef than Yosef did in being reunited with his father. This was because Ya'acov had a greater degree of pain prior to the reunion and happiness which follows a troubling time is greater than the happiness at an event which was not preceded by troubles.
R' Frand then stated that he was always bothered by the concept of tears of joy. Tears of pain are logical as are tears which accompany troubles or frustration. But why do people cry when happy events occur.
R' Frand answered by quoting R' Hutner. He said that if a person finds out that he won the lottery he would be happy, but would not cry tears of joy. On the other hand, after the birth of a child, or at a child's bar-mitzva (and especially) at the wedding of a child, the parent will cry tears of joy. Why? Because the sh'ar hadimaos (gate of tears) for the pain of getting to this point has not completely closed. The parent went through many agonizing times which caused him or her to cry about the future of their child. Now that the happy moment has been reached, the crying is the expression of the left over tears which formerly were expressed in pain, but now are being shed in happiness as the troubling time is over and the child has achieved the parent's dreams for him/her.
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