LOL. Please, be so kind as to share your 250 word essay if you decide on the latter topic. I have always wondered what 250 words on snails would look like.
You asked for it:
The Murex trunculus is a 1- 4 inch rock snail which minds its own business trolling about the shallow ends of the Mediterranean. Looking at the snail, it would be hard to imagine that it could cause any strife anywhere, but this conical shaped, banded snail has affected a controversy in the Jewish world that is now in its 96th year. In 1913 the future Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Isaac Herzog advanced the possibility that Murex trunculus might be the source of the long lost Jewish dye, Techelet. This dye was used most prominently as blue strings on tzitzit; the fringes which hang off the prayer shawls of Jews. The identification of Murex trunculus as the legendary Chilazon was a breakthrough. After 1500 hundred years it seemed we had finally rediscovered Techelet.
Or had we? Many halachic (Jewish law) experts are skeptical whether the secretions of this ridge shelled mollusk is really the base of the legendary blue dye.
They point out that the shells of these snails have been found in great abundance in archeological sites of ancient Canaan (present day Israel). In contradistinction Talmudic sources describe the dye as both rare and expensive. This problem is only one of the many that the proponents of Murex trunculus face in making their case to the general Jewish public. The furor has been going on now for nearly a century, but the Murex trunculus slithers on oblivious to it all.
What do you think?
Prob would re-word the first sentence, but love it overall. Though, having went to Yeshiva K-8, the topic of ancient tzitzit dye strikes a particular chord with me. (On another point, can one use non-kosher animal products to make religious garments? Sounds fishy to me.)
Also, i think its "effected a controversy," rather than affected. Can others chime in to confirm?