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The sages are bemoaning ostentatious charlatans. Bear in mind the term Pharisee did not necessarily refer to a fellow sage. It was a whole movement. The hebrew word for it does translate to ascetic. King Yannai said it best to his wife after the gloss on 22b: Fear not the Pharisees and the non-Pharisees but the hypocrites who ape the Pharisees; because ...

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