I don't see it that way, but this may be due to a different in epistemology. Just what constitutes valid evidence? To cite Rationalist Judaism on this, though regarding a different topic:
Epistemology refers to the concept of how knowledge is acquired. There are fundamental differences in how people reach their opinions about things, and this comes into sharp contrast with the topics of my books. How do we decide if Chazal erred in science? Do we evaluate their statements in light of science? Do we evaluate science in light of their statements? Do we look at what the Rishonim say? Do we follow what the Gedolim say? And if so, which Gedolim?For some people, the fact that Gadol X said something is proof that it is so. To pull an example from a previous post, the Chida repeated a story he had seen in an old copy of a certain sefer, as to the origin of that sefer. There were good reasons to doubt the story, for reasons of plausibility and because a parallel story / fairy tale existed in approximately the same place, but for Christians rather than Jews. For a rationalist, this was good reason to doubt the story. For a non-rationalist, this was not a good reason to doubt the story at all. Rather, if the Chida said it, it was good enough for him, and to doubt it betrays a serious lack in Emunas Chachamim.
Similarly, for Nir Ben Artzi. I talked myself blue in the face evaluating what his credentials were, what he said, how it was easy to manufacture fulfillment of his vague predictions, and so on. This was all to no avail. Then, suddenly, I produced an article in which many, many rabbonim said that he was a con-artist and that one should stay away, and that sufficed. All the proof that was ever needed had now been provided.
I could give other examples of this. It really is a difference in epistemology.
For me, there is weighty evidence. Few people, especially self-professed miracle workers, accumulate $80 million in assets honestly. And Menachem Ellowitz had financial documents backing him up, that he had given to $100,000 to Baba Elazar Abuchatzeira. And the Brooklyn DA found enough credible evidence to open an investigation, and dozens of religious Jews came forward with their own stories of how Baba Elazar had taken their money under sleazy circumstances, and told this to the DA. And one can track this sort of interaction financially, to confirm that these people gave the sums they gave. And this investigation was enough to make Baba Elazar avoid coming to the US this year. (And the story from DovBear's friend does seem to confirm it.) In the other direction, in Israel, Baba Elazar's defense seems to have been mere bluster: that he was not going to sue the secular papers for slander, not because their charges were flimsy, but because he was such a nice guy. And he forgives them for being so mean to him.
This does not mean that if I was on a jury, I would necessarily convict. Of course, I would have to actually hear the evidence and weigh it. But there does seem a good probability that with all of this smoke, there was indeed fire.
The counter-evidence, to me, sounded rather flimsy. Some Gedolim, who might not have known of the charges, or who might have heard of them but dismissed them because they were from the anti-chareidi paper HaAretz, said nice things about Baba Elazar at the latter's funeral. When meanwhile, other Gedolim said nice things about the innocence of Rabbi Elior Chen.
But matters are flipped for those with a different epistemology. Probably the only thing that could possibly convince them was condemnations by Gedolim. Then, they could turn to the other evidence as confirmatory.
So what did Rav Chaim Kanievsky say, precisely? Did he warn people that Baba Elazar was a con-artist and that people should stay away?
Well, first consider the letter that he wrote to Rabbi Pinchas Abuchatzeira, the murder victim's son. Via Matzav:
Maran Rav Chaim Kanievsky has authored a brief letter to Rav Pinchos Abuchatzeirah and the Abuchatzeirah family following the shocking murder of their father, Rav Elazar Abuchatzeirah zt”lof Beer Sheva, Thursday night.“Rav Pinchos shlita,” Rav Chaim wrote, “it is with great sadness that we heard about what happened. This is a painful gezeirah and it should be for a kapparah. May Hashem comfort you among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim.”
This is a pretty powerful letter which seems to support Baba Elazar's innocence. On the other hand, there are ambiguities. A gezeira could be well-deserved for the individual, or it could be a gzerat hamelech that we cannot understand. It could be a kapparah for all of klal Yisrael, or it could be a kapparah for the many sins of a con-artist. Of course, why should we suspect the latter?
Well, because of the story being told that Rav Chaim Kanievsky knew that Baba Elazar was a con-artist. Unfortunately, the idiot commenters over at Vos Iz Neias always comment anonymously, which greatly detracts from their credibility. But a comment thread there reads:
“ may g_d listen to the pain he causes and all the suffering he gives and all victims who fell in with elazar abuhetzeira from beer sheva come out and tell you story victims dont be shy ...... you will save another victim ..... from falling in ..... ..rabbi chaim konevsky ........gave out a warning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...........dont go to him or meet him in any way ”Comment 93:
really ? rav chaim kanievsky said specifically not to meet rav elazar abuchatzeira. when did he say this?Comment 94:
Perhaps someone who knows Rav Kanievsky can help confirm this.
A sick man came to abuhetzeira and told him he sick abuhetzeira took fro the young 15000 dollars and the man gave it to him after man left he saw he was ripped off he ran to rabbi chaim konevsky and told him the story he told him stop the check right away and gave strict warning. Not to go to abuhezeira or loo k at him after this story he said I give a warning don't dare go to this faker . Beaware.
In another article at Vos Iz Neias, an anonymous commenter writes about Baba Elazar:
he got over 7 hazmunas from bet din never came to bet din he got many warning over 100 warning s from even his brother hurav david abuhetzeira gave the warning even rabbi chaim konevsky gave a strong warnings and many rabunim from isreal warned him to do tshuva he ignored all warning may god take justice to this criminal oh god there are so many victimsMaybe someone can confirm this, or disprove it? I don't have the ability myself to do this. I don't think Baba Elazar was a con-artist because of these Anonymous comments. I gave my reasons above. But these are more along the lines of what people with a different epistemology might find persuasive; though less likely given the anonymous nature of these claims.
Next up, what is the Toeles? Yaak and Mekubal want to know.