The following is an article written by Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz in Yated Ne’eman after meeting Rush Limbaugh in 2008.
I didn’t know what to expect. He always refers to himself as a harmless little fuzzball, yet with his unmatched success, I thought he may be too arrogant to talk to. When we arrived, he was doing his show prep, thoroughly engrossed in the largest computer screen you have ever seen.
He could not have been more welcoming, beckoning us into his inner sanctum. His affection for his rabbi, Rabbi Nate Segal in particular and Jewish people in general was obvious, and before I knew it, I was also being treated as an old friend.
He reaches over twenty million listeners on 850 radio stations all across the fruited plain, cultivating conservative values. In the days of Republican ascent, he helped the “Contract With America” gain traction and coalesced support for Republican candidates all across the country. He spawned many others in his wake, spreading Conservatism via the radio airwaves, fighting back against the Left’s strong hold of all other media. Attempts to muzzle him have failed, as have all the many efforts to paint him as some sort of radical extremist.
More recently, he and his listeners haven’t had a Newt Gingrich to rally around and have thus gone down to defeat in a number of elections. After all, as he explains, you can’t win elections without good candidates. He did his best this year, emptying out his bag of tricks in a bid to extend the Democrat primaries and fatally wound Obama. But it wasn’t meant to be. The Democrats won and now may be safely ensconced in the White House for the next eight years.
Mr. Limbaugh’s success is as unprecedented as is his influence, yet he retains the same work ethic which got him to where he is. He spends untold hours reading and analyzing the news before being able to give it his own spin for three hours, five days a week.
When you listen to a master, he makes it sound easy. You hear the words flow from his lips. You listen to the brilliant political analysis day after day and you fail to appreciate the amount of effort required to stay on top of his game, even though he is gifted enough to be able to do it with one hand tied behind his back.
Very often, when you meet people who have become quite successful, their arrogance seems to have taken them hostage. They speak differently and think themselves a cut above everyone else. They look down at the ‘little’ people and make you feel less than worthy of their time. People who have gained fame for their kindness and generosity can often times be anything but that when you meet them in person.
But not Rush. He is still real. He stays current and is able to see through the arrogance of elected and self-appointed leaders because he retains the genuineness of a regular guy. He tries not to let success get to his head and cloud his judgment and ability to dissect so much of the phoniness that masquerades as leadership. He has the remarkable ability to break through the clutter and media madness to be able to crystallize the essence of every issue in ways in which the average person is able to comprehend.
Though he is the master of understanding what is really transpiring, he remains constantly upbeat, positive and optimistic. He thus is able to provide hope for people and is able to communicate with an abundance of humor which he uses to educate the masses as well as diffuse his critics.
In 2001, Rush Limbaugh was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED), which, over a span of three months, left his right ear completely deaf and his left ear severely deaf. Despite suffering what would normally be a career-ending disability for a radio talk show host, Limbaugh managed to fight back and is better than ever. On December 19, 2001, doctors at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles were able to partially restore his hearing through cochlear implant surgery. A Clarion CII Bionic Ear now carries out some of the functions of the damaged organs in his inner ear. Though he still is considered “deaf,” Rush continues to talk back and forth, live, with some of his 20 million listeners across America every day.
He is not immune from other setbacks, which he has confessed to, confronted and then beaten back. He remains an inspiration to many people, whom he influences and educates each day, letting them know that they are not alone in their principled beliefs of limited government, individual liberty, religion and honesty, and their pride in the United States.
His success proves that one need not be subservient to the dominating thought and power correctness, and can be effective saying things that one isn’t supposed to say in order to break through the chaos and confusion and spread the truth. Despite all his detractors have thrown at him, he remains the most loved, the most feared, and the biggest target in media today. Washingtonians can seek to silence him all they want, but he will continue to flourish as he mocks their aloofness and detachment from reality.
People who live in bubbles and seek media adoration resent him and will never understand from where his power emanates. His achievements demonstrate the power of the regular guy and remind everyone who seeks to advance a career to maintain their feet on the ground and never lose touch with reality and with the common man.
I arrived armed with a long list of questions for an interview. Our conversation was so friendly and informal that we never got down to the formal part of the meeting. That will have to wait for next time.
He is a self made person who began his career very far removed from the pinnacle of power. But he educated himself and fought rejection with massive doses of hard work and effort.
He stands as a symbol to all of what a person can accomplish if he sets his mind to it. If we would harness our G-d given talents with copious measures of determination, diligence and discipline, nothing will stand in our way. We can also reach the masses, just as he does, and make the world a better place for all, if only we would care enough to set our minds to improving our communication and cerebral abilities.
Rush constantly reminds his listeners that his talent is on loan from G-d. If we are tenacious enough and work hard enough we will also be Divinely blessed with the brilliance to dismantle those who seek to block the forces of good and truth.
Republished from Yated Ne’eman.