There are different versions in our commentaries as to how intensely identified the Children of Israel in Egypt were. Some say that they retained their identity because they didn’t change their names, language or dress. Others say that only a fifth left Egypt because the rest were so assimilated they preferred to stay where they were.
This explains why in this week’s reading Moses tells the Children of Israel to mark their door posts with blood so that they will not stricken by the plague of the First Born. This marking of the door is the basis of the latter command to put a Mezuzah on our doors.
Some people think that the Mezuzah works as a sort of magic charm that protects one’s home. But we do not believe in magic and it is our actions that decide if we are find favor in God’s eyes, not just hocus pocus voodoo charms.
Putting up a Mezuzah does two things, it reminds us of the ideals we are supposed to live our lives according to. But as its origin in Egypt proves, it is essentially an act of commitment, identification, pride. It is a public sign and a personal reminder to be proud of our heritage and who we are and not to try to run away from our origins. For if we do, we will simply disappear into the dominant society. Just like those Israelites who chose not to mark their houses in Egypt when told to identify themselves. They were left behind. They disappeared.