You’ve witnessed the loving scene before. A devoted grandfather wants to interact with his 2-year-old grandson, so he crouches down and meets him eye to eye. He may be a professor, a doctor or a lawyer, but he avoids any professional jargon,and instead speaks simply, on the child’s level, pointing at the tot’s toy.

“Orange truck?”

And the child smiles and repeats: “Orange truck.”

It may take effort on the grandfather’s part, but were he to deliver a college-level lecture to the child, it would be way above his head. We only exist because of G‑d’s diluted light, or energy, that He grants usIn order to connect, he needs to remove all barriers.

G‑d created a world, and He desired to have a relationship with us. Were He to appear in this world in all His infinite glory, we would not be able to withstand His great light. So G‑d “contracted” his light in a process called tzimtzum, which means there is only as much G‑dly light in this world, giving it life, as we can handle. We only exist because of G‑d’s diluted light, or energy, that He grants us. But it is done in a manner that does not overwhelm us, allowing us to connect to Him.

The blessings we recite before the Shema prayer help us focus on this fact. The first blessing describes the many angels in their formations and how completely overwhelmed they are by G‑d’s infinite light. And yet, G‑d chose to contract Himself not for the angels’ sake, but for ours. They cannot access a close relationship through Torah and mitzvot, but we can.

The second blessing describes how much G‑d loves us. That’s why he “contracted” His great light in order to create a world where we can have a relationship with the Almighty G‑d, by observing His Torah. The blessing continues with, “And you chose us from every people and tongue ... to give thanks to You ... ”

When we grasp that G‑d “crouches down to us,” so to speak, in order to relate to us, we reflect His act of love with a declaration of our own in the Shema by saying with feeling, “You shall love the L‑rd your G‑d with all your heart.”

A relationship with no barriers.

Tanya Bit: G‑d extends himself to have a relationship with me. How can I extend myself to have a relationship with Him?

(Inspired from Chapter 48 and Chapter 49 of Tanya)