|Shlomo HaMelech tells us in Koheles (7:2) "Tov Lalaches El Bais HaEivel MiLeches El Bais HaMishteh", it is better to go to a house of mourning than a house of party. How could this be? Maybe we ca offer b'derech drush that the pasuk is referring to someone who needs to attend both a bais aveil and bais hamishteh. While a joyous simcha is far better to participate in than mourning, one should attend to the mourning first. A bais eivel is a place of pure and focused emotion. When one walks into a bais aveil and the spirit of someone who was alive just days ago, yet is no longer, hovers in the air, we live the moment and nothing else matters. No pettiness, no materialism, and no trivialities, take our eye off the ball. The world stops and only one thing consumes our attention, our mortality and our afterlife.
Simcha is the epitome of life but one needs to know how to celebrate it. There are so many distractions and sideshows that can diminish from a simcha and they sometimes even end up taking center stage while the actual simcha takes a back seat. Sometimes these distractions can even spoil a simcha.
Tov Lalaches El Bais HaEivel MiLeches El Bais HaMishteh Baasher Hu Sof Kol HaDam V'HaChai Yitein El Libo. A bais eivel is preferred for in it one sees the end of man and the living take heart. The bais aveil teaches us how to focus on what life is about, what is important and what is trivial. Only when we see the end, can we live the present, the way it is supposed to be lived. Only then can we attend a simcha and fully enjoy the beauty and true meaning of real simcha.
If you think life is about enjoying oneself or being treated fairly by fate you will have a hard time figuring out why less than enjoyable things happen to you. You will drive yourself crazy when you hear about the tragedies that happen to good and innocent people. Life becomes an enigmatic maze of bizarre, warped, and unfair events. Simcha is believing in Hashem and knowing everything is good. Simcha is stopping to smell the roses, clearly understanding the gift of every moment of life and what can be achieved by each and every one of us.
The halacha is that a man may annul his wife's vows if the vow will cause her affliction. While there is a machlokes whether or not washing oneself is considered affliction, it is clear that not being allowed to attend a funeral is definitely painful. Why, asks the gemara (nedarim 83b)? Because the pasuk says, "V'HaChai Yitein El Libo", when experiencing life's end, one learns to focus on what life is really about. Living life with a distorted view of the purpose of our being causes great pain and anguish. Only a life of clarity is a life worth living. May we always be B'Simcha, true Simcha, tamid.