When this bizarre call was heard in the synagogue the men were startled and the women terrified. Where could this strange sound have come from? But when the lad shouted, G‑d, have mercy! they saw who it was. Some of the people standing near him wanted to expel him from the synagogue. But he retorted, I am also a Jew. Your G‑d is my G‑d, too.

The aged sexton, Reb Yosef Yuzpa, calmed the worshippers and told the villager to remain in his place. A few minutes after this incident the congregation heard the Baal Shem Tov and his disciples hurrying to conclude the service. The Master's face radiated with joy. With rare spirit and delight the Baal Shem Tov ended Ne'ila, and with deep emotion he recited the verses Shema, Boruch Shem, and Hashem Hu HaElokim that mark the close of the Yom Kippur services. Then he sang joyous melodies.

Later that evening, during the meal, the Baal Shem Tov described to his disciples the danger that had hovered over the unfortunate community. He found, when pleading mercy for the community in question, that he was himself under censure for advocating settlement of Jews in villages and rural areas where they might be adversely influenced by the non-Jewish environment.

As the deeds and status of the Jewish villagers were being examined, I saw that the charges were substantial and I was dismayed. But suddenly the lad's voice was heard On High, calling, 'Cock-a-doodle-doo! G‑d have mercy!' His simple but sincere prayer caused such Heavenly delight that all accusations against the community and myself were nullified.

Translator's Note: Despite superficial similarities, this story is fundamentally different from the many non-Jewish folk tales that have as their theme the virtue of simple faith. In this case the lad's cry was effective because it alone could refute the accusations.

The charges stressed the deterioration of the Jew in isolation from his fellows; the rebuttal could not come from the sublime prayers of the saint, the Baal Shem Tov, since he was certainly no example of the inviolability of the simple Jewish soul.

It had to come from one who ostensibly exemplified the negative effects of village life, the shepherd. The account demonstrates the integrity of the Jew's soul, since the boy's deep-rooted feelings were acceptable to G‑d despite his ignorance.