Security is something most of us crave. In the womb, in relationships, in our home environments.

Life’s ebb and flow can be turbulent. We depend on our touchstones: psychological security, a stable income, protection from crime. Clothing, food, warm shelter. These tangible, physical, elements in our life provide protection and safeguard what we hold dear. This is how many of us feel. This is what many of us believe.

Yet our tradition breaks through illusions and gets to the core of who and what can truly shelter us. During Sukkot, this illusion is processed, broken and made anew. Improvised and delicate, spending time in a temporary outdoor hut, in a sukkah, sharpens all the aspects of the illusion and brings them into focus. The sukkah is the remedy to the illusion of physical security. Within it lies the truth.

Here are seven paradoxes about the sukkah that remind us of our real Protector:

1. The sukkah is my safe haven, yet it has an open roof, vulnerable to all the elements. Anyone or anything can enter. As I peek at the vast overlay of blue and white above, I feel safe.

2. The sukkah is a temporary dwelling, yet on Sukkot, it becomes our permanent dwelling. It contains everything I need. I eat in it, dream in it, pray in it, converse in it, build relationships in it. I do all that is truly valuable in it.

3. The sukkah is tender. Robust winds can enter it. Rains can leak in it. The shadows and the sunlight dance in it. Yet it is strong; it is a fortress of peace, dialogue and contentment.

4. The sukkah is public. It is out in the open arena, for all those to see. But it is also a sanctuary in which private, deep contemplation and meditation take place and thrive.

5. The sukkah is busy. Pancakes for breakfast, neighbors jamming in, apricot chicken and acorn squash soufflé, fall flavors wafting through the autumn air. Yet, it is still. I hear the jackals howl, I watch the rustling leaves fold on to one another. I count the celestial bodies from the cracks atop and beyond.

6. The sukkah is ancient. “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Succoth, a seven-day period to the L‑rd.” The pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The sacrifices. The agricultural harvest and bounty. Still, the holiday of booths is modern. The halogen lights. The mosquito repellent. The Wifi.

7. The sukkah is a singular construction. It surrounds us on all sides. Yet it is a unifying structure. In it are Jews of every age and background, from every walk of life. Unified by tradition. Unified by joy. Unified by the epiphany and paradox that this temporary dwelling gifts to us all.

Our physical abodes, our material armaments, are just but a mirage. We are fragile both in and out of our fortresses. We are fragile because we are human. Inside the sukkah, as we look beyond the branches above us, we understand that only G‑d is sheltering us. He is our shield.

Related: 13 Facts Every Jew Should Know About Sukkot