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Section: Parshas HaShavua   Category: Mashal
Parshas Noach: Rav Elyashiv - Would Noach Travel First Class In Peace Time?
When you see someone traveling first class during normal times you know that he is a wealthy person.  However, if it is war time and the world is in chaos with people doing whatever they need to do to get to where they think they need to be, the cabin they sit in is no indication.  Even a poor man will spend all his money to get to his destination in whatever seat is available.

With this Mashal, Rav Elyashiv explains the enigmatic Chazal that debates if Noach was a great tzaddik.  "How could Chazal debate this point," asks Rav Elyashiv, "if Hashem himself declared that Noach was a Tzaddik Tamim?"

Rav Elyashiv explains that Chazal are debating the underlying reason of Noach's great tzidkus.  He could have been a tzaddik because he saw the light, and he strived to do  Hashem's will.  In that case he was great despite the fact that he had no guidance, as the whole generation was totally corrupt.  He got to where he got without any help.  Had he been privileged to be with Avrohom he would have reached far greater heights.

Alternatively, maybe Noach only chose the path of good because he was repulsed by the corruption and the total breakdown of society all around him.  He strove to pull himself above the fray and salvage himself from eternal damnation.  Like the pasuk says that he went into the teivah, his spiritual fortress, "Mipnei Mei HaMabul," because of the raging sea of evil all around him.  In that case had he lived in a time where evil was not rampant, he may not have reached for greatness.