During his last months, Rebbe Nachman made great efforts to influence the nonreligious maskilim, followers of the secular Enlightenment movement who lived in the city of Uman, to return to religious observance. He would answer their questions and discuss their concerns with them for many hours.
After Rebbe Nachman’s funeral, Reb Noson wept profusely. Hirsch Leib, one of the maskilim, said to him, “You miss the Rebbe? We miss the Rebbe! If only the Rebbe had lived, he would have made us all into penitents and perfect tzaddikim!” (Kochavey Ohr, Sippurim Niflaim, pp. 3-7).