Returning to the Shiurei Da’as’ idea that there are two independent sources for a halachic ethic – the model of the doctor who simply prescribes what naturally is good or bad, and the model of the king who creates law – there are two other examples he gives that are worth touching on:
1) The Rishonim raise the famous issue of how the Avos and Shevatim were free to violate certain issurim (e.g. how could Ya’akov have married two sisters) when Chazal tell us that the Avos accepted and kept the entire Torah even before it was given. The Shiurei Da’as answers that the observance of the Avos conformed to the model of the doctor. Just as in medicine, a prescription that works for one person can cause problems for another person or unwanted side effects that are more damaging than the original illness, so too with mitzvos. The Avos were able to intuit where the exceptions based on greater gain were warranted. However, post-mattan Torah, the Jewish people accepted the model of observance that defines ethics as simply obeying the King’s wishes, to which there can be no exception.
2) The Shiurei Da’as offers a beautiful hesber of the distinction between hutra and dechuya (see Rashi Brachos 20a d”h shev v’al ta’aseh). In both cases there is no issur from the perspective of the model of obeying a king’s decree – the mitzvah pushes off the lo ta’aseh. So why with respect to an issur dechuya do we assume that there is some "pushback" from the lav? The S.D. explains that although the King’s decree is lifted, there is still something wrong from the perspective of the doctor model – the issur has not lost its natural inherent danger.
This last case interests me most because it points to a circumstance where the decree of the king commands a certain practice, but the law of nature (the model of the doctor) still cautions restraint. The most extreme example of such a phenomenon (not discussed by the Shiurei Da’as) seems to me to be the parsha of the akeidah. Although killing a child is morally repugnant, Avraham did not hesitate in that circumstance to obey the command of Hashem. Kierkegaard referred to this as the “teleological suspension of the ethical” – i.e. the command of the akeidah does not render murder as ethically acceptable, but the human ethic is temporarily suspended to accomplish the will of G-d. I wonder what the Shiurei Da’as would make of such a theory.