Back to Adar 22
A general pattern of these stories is present in an anecdote mentioned in Elijah ben Solomon ha Kohen's Shevet musar 34 (1712). In discussing the role of the sheliah tsibur, the one who leads the congregation in prayer, the author, a famous rabbi in Smyrna. quotes an episode that he had heard from a relative, Rabbi Abraham Apumadu:
'In former years, there was a sheliah tsibur of very advanced age. When he read from the Torah scroll, he would make movements with his hand to allude to the happenings in the reading. He did this for many years. Once a rabbi came there and, regarding these antics as shameful, put a stop to them. Then, in a terrifying dream, the rabbi was informed that one man who had brought honor and joy to the Holy One, blessed be He, was now prevented from doing so. At dawn, the rabbi immediately went to the home of the sheliah tsibur to ask his forgiveness and to request that he resume his hand movements."
Note also the similarity to the tale of the herdsman's prayer in Sefer hasidim, 5-6 (MS Parma). It deals not with an unnormative act per se but with an unnormative way of praying on the part of an unlearned shepherd who is, nonetheless, deeply devout in his religious feeling.