Yechiel Perr grew up in South Ozone Park, Queens, where his father, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Perr served as a rabbi for over 50 years. Perr attended high school at Mesivta Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin. After completing high school, he studied at the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, and then studied at Beth Medrash Govoha, in Lakewood, New Jersey, under the tutelage of Rabbi Aharon Kotler from 1944 to 1956.
Perr married Shoshana Nekritz, daughter of Rabbi Yehuda Leib Nekritz, granddaughter of Rabbi Avraham Yaffen, and great-granddaughter of the renowned Alter of Novardok, Rabbi Yosef Yozel Horwitz. It was after his marriage that he came into contact with the Novardok tradition. He went on to study at Yeshivat Beis Yosef-Novardok in Brooklyn, New York and at Yeshivas Kaminetz. In 1969, he established the Yeshiva of Far Rockaway, which also runs a high school and an accredited rabbinical studies program.
A series of his conversations on mussar are recounted in the following books by Alan Morinis:
- Climbing Jacob's Ladder. Broadway, 2002. ISBN 0-7679-0645-4.
- Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar. Trumpeter Books, 2007. ISBN 1-59030-368-7.
- "Reb Yisroel – Who Was He?" The Jewish Observer, June, 1969.
- "Tzidkus Stands Forever: The Life and Lessons of Rabbi Menachem M. Perr zt”l", September, 2011.
- Kobre, Eytan. "Not Just a Malach, But a Saraf". Mishpacha, 14 November 2012, pp. 34–47.
- "Rabbi Menachem Mendel Perr". kevarim.com. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- Bernstein, Dovid (7 February 2009). "Yeshiva of Far Rockaway Dinner Tonight, Ben Brafman to MC". matzav.com. Retrieved 25 August 2011.