And for slanderers let there be no hope; and may all wickedness perish in an instant; and may all Your enemies be cut down speedily. May You speedily uproot, smash, cast down, and humble wanton sinners, speedily in our days. Blessed are You, God, Who breaks enemies and humbles wanton sinners.
וְלַמַּלְשִׁינִים אַל תְּהִי תִקְוָה, וְכָל הַמִּינִים כְּרֶֽגַע יֹאבֵֽדוּ, וְכָל אוֹיְבֵי עַמְּךָ מְהֵרָה יִכָּרֵֽתוּ, וְהַזֵּדִים מְהֵרָה תְעַקֵּר וּתְשַׁבֵּר וּתְמַגֵּר וּתְכַלֵּם וְתַשְׁפִּילֵם וְתַכְנִיעֵם בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽינוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ,ֹ שוֹבֵר אֹיְבִים וּמַכְנִֽיעַ זֵדִים
This brakha (blessing), called Birkat HaMinim, prays that the enemies of the Jews will be cut down and stop making problems for the Jewish community. Shemoneh Esrei literally means eighteen in Hebrew, as when it was first written, there were eighteen brakhot (blessings) in it. However, Birkat HaMinim was later added to Shemoneh Esrei to pray for the enemies of the Jews’ destruction.
There are a lot of people who challenge the secular and Jewish feminist movements. Organizations like the National Organization for Women (NOW) have whole walls of shame (http://www.now.org/issues/media/hall-of-shame/index.php) dedicated to bringing sexist media to light, and run campaigns against sexists in politics and government. I personally thought it was inspired to send Alan Simpson, the current co-chair of the president’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, baby bottle nipples when he said that Social Security is “like a milk cow with 310 million tits!”
Jewish feminists also have enemies. The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) definitively ruled against Orthodox women’s ordination in late April 2010. Anat Hoffman, leader of Women of the Wall, was arrested for holding a Torah scroll at the Western Wall due to her sex. Every day, Jewish women are barred from reaching their full potential within Judaism. My Torah teacher has a scary brilliant mind. She can literally quote whole portions of the Torah from the top of her head, and she understands them on so many different levels. Why should she be a teacher while her husband is a rabbi?
When we say this brakha, we should pray that the people who threaten the feminist movement are unsuccessful in their plans. As the Jewish feminist watchdog group Jewish Women Watching says, sexism is a sin, and we need to make that clear to those who oppose us. The gains that feminists make are precious; every decision made in our favor, legal or religious, is a gem. We have worked too hard to let those who oppose us win.