Our society often degrades cooperation; assuming it to be the domain of the incompetent, a sign of weakness. Incorporating others' input means having to conform to them and their birdbrain ideas. As such, we are taught to ask for help only when desperate, otherwise we should do it ourselves. Even when people form partnerships, usually it's not because they value collaboration for collaboration's sake, but because they hope to take something out of it for themselves, something they could not have accomplished going it alone. That is what brought Hewlett to Packard, Sears to Roebuck and Peanut Butter to Jelly.

Sadly, many couples and friends operate their lives on this business model, seeing their spouse or friend as a "useful" collaborator, valued for what he or she "brings to the table." The tragedy is exposed when the spouse or friend ceases to get the job done, and are jettisoned in favor of a more efficient model.

Torah sees collaboration as a sign of welcoming G‑d into one's life.Torah sees collaboration as a sign of welcoming G‑d into one's life. Working together with others is inherently good. G‑d created us to be His partners in fulfilling His master plan. G‑d is not weak or incapable, but He offers us the gift of cooperation, the chance to experience the uniquely human ability to put oneself aside for something greater than just me, without fear that doing so will expose me to exploitation.

When we forget G‑d, we view the world as a finite resource, a pie with a defined number of slices; every bit that you get comes out of my wallet. Following such a model means I only work with you if it will enrich my own lot; the ultimate "what's in it for me?" Conversely, when I see myself as partnered with G‑d, I see His infinite bounty, the abundance model means I lose nothing by sharing; another's gain is not my loss.

Hakhel is the embodiment of this idea. People of varied ages, capacities, hopes and aspirations assemble for a single purpose, to honor the King of kings. It might seem insulting to ask me to stand shoulder to shoulder with someone else; why can't I simply serve G‑d on my own, recite my own prayers and move on? Why must I congregate with others?

Hakhel illustrates the beauty of being together, assembling in honor of something more than myself. Hakhel says, "It's okay to trust; you won't get hurt." Hakhel brings everyone together; the scholar and the infant join as one. They have put their personal agendas aside, submitting themselves to honoring G‑d, and are enriched thereby. The act of all people, regardless of accomplishments, coming together, is the miraculous beauty of Hakhel.

Just as G‑d enters into partnership with us, we too partner with one another in affirmation of G‑d's presence in our lives. We are in this together; we can rely on one another and others can rely on us.

That's okay. In fact that is G‑dly!