Placed at the end of the series of contractions, together with gross matter and the evil impulse, man is also the purpose of it all.
Having been granted a Divine Soul in a material body, man stands between light and darkness, between good and evil.
And in choosing the light and the good, he raises himself to holiness.
By doing so he justifies the emanation of all the worlds.
He gives the creative process a meaning.
Because in themselves, the higher worlds are, to a large degree, totally dependent on God.
They are built and are made to function, according to set laws of Divine unfolding.
Only man has the freedom to choose and to change the otherwise fixed course of events.
It is in this respect, then, that we can be guided by the saying, "As water mirrors the reflection of a face."
We surmise that God has put aside His infinite light and concealed it, so to speak, in the three great contractions that brought forth the, knowable worlds.
And He did this out of a love for man and in order to bring man to a knowledge of God.
Thus, all the contractions and withdrawals were meant to provide a place for man in this world, and he is, therefore, the purpose of it all.
For the existence of man is possible only if the Divine light is hidden, because His love transcends all flesh, and we could not survive in its effulgence.
It is as though God pushes Himself aside in order to make room for man to exist.
So does man, in response, have to go toward God and even to abandon all else in order to cleave to Him -"as water mirrors the reflection of a face."
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From The Long Shorter Way by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz