The Gaon Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Shklov is a descendant of Rabbi Yehuda Yidel, the Av Bet Din of Cavalli, author of Kol Yehuda, whose lineage goes all the way back to Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi. Rabbi Menachem Mendel was one of the Vilna Gaon’s greatest students, and one of the few who wrote down his teachings. Rabbi Menachem Mendel assisted the Vilna Gaon for nearly two years before he died, and received many of his teachings in the revealed and the hidden Torah. Rabbi Menachem Mendel is mentioned in the list of the select students cited by the Vilna Gaon’s sons in the preface to Biur HaGR"A.
In 1808 Rabbi Menachem Mendel immigrated to Israel and settled in the Galilee before moving to Jerusalem, where he worked tirelessly to reestablish the ruins of the synagogue built by Rabbi Yehuda HaChasid and to redeem it from the Arabs. Rabbi Menachem Mendel is considered one of the founders of the Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem.
He edited and published some of his rabbi’s writings, including Proverbs with the GR"A's commentary, Biur HaGR"A on the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, the GR"A's commentary to Sefer Hayetzira and other various compositions. At a certain stage Rabbi Menachem Mendel wanted to publish one of his own compositions, titled Shaar Hatzimtzum, but for various reasons this desire was not realized. Over the years a few of his compositions have been published; some of them only in the last few years. Some of his writings remain concealed in manuscripts.