The Baal Shem Tov opened the channel of divine service by showing how every Jew can serve Him with love and reverence. Even simple folk, through sincere recitation of prayers and Psalms (though possibly ignorant of the words' meaning) and through love of fellow Jews, achieve an inner closeness to G‑d. For the overriding consideration is the actual deed, and sincerity in one's divine service.

In the time of the Baal Shem Tov, a community was threatened with severe Divine punishment. Aware of the frightful state of affairs, the Baal Shem Tov prayed unusually long that Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. During the Ne'ila prayers his students saw that something most serious was amiss, and they too prayed from the depth of their hearts, with tears and heartfelt supplication.

Witnessing the fervent, heartrending prayers of the Baal Shem Tov and his disciples, the men and women in the synagogue were moved to join them in tearful prayer.

It was time for Maariv-the Holy Day should have come to an end-and still the Baal Shem Tov and his disciples prayed with increased fervor. Obviously something extraordinarily grave was involved, and the entire congregation wept from the depths of their hearts, creating a great commotion in the synagogue.

For several years now a Jewish shepherd lad had been attending High Holy Day services in the prayer-house of the Baal Shem Tov. A total illiterate, he would simply stand there, listening attentively, and stare into the chazan's face. Not a word did he utter.

A country boy, he was expert in imitating the sounds of animals-goats, sheep, birds and fowl. His favorite was the crow of the rooster. Upon seeing the excitement in the synagogue now, and hearing the weeping and wailing of the worshippers, he could contain himself no longer, and loudly cried, Cock-a-doodle-doo! G‑d, have mercy!