The character Hesh Rabkin may be a composite character inspired by music mogul Morris "Mo" Levy,founder of Roulette Records, who had connections to the Mafia and owned a string of racehorses.
[Hesh is a loan shark and an important advisor (and perhaps consigliere) to Tony Soprano (the same role he performed for Tony's father, mob captain "Johnny Boy" Soprano) but, by virtue of being Jewish, is not and cannot be a made man. Nevertheless, Tony frequently seeks out Hesh's advice on a number of issues. When Tony was estranged from his therapist he sought out Hesh as a sympathetic ear but found his listening skills not quite up to his standards, and often Tony gets annoyed in several scenes because Hesh keeps talking. Hesh has the lowest profile out of anyone in the crime family.
Hesh is very intelligent and a shrewd businessman, making a fortune in the recording industry during the 1950s and 1960s by bringing many young black musicians to prominence, getting royalties by having his name added as a co-writer on many songs. Apart from an unabashed greedy streak, Hesh is largely cool-headed and good-natured. He is also unique among Tony's inner circle in that he is well educated. Outside of business, Hesh's passions include his stable of horses and a penchant for statuesque black women. Hesh has a son-in-law named Eli who is also involved in his loan-shark business. Hesh has an encyclopedic knowledge of Soprano criminal activities.
Hesh first appeared in the pilot working with Tony on setting up a scam to defraud HMO medical insurance companies through their debtor Alex Mahaffey. Hesh accompanied Big Pussy to a waterfall to intimidate Mahaffey into participating. Later, Hesh advised Tony against getting involved with Hasidic Jews - the Teitlemanns in a dispute over ownership of their hotel and Hesh's predictions of their obstinacy proved correct. Hesh was able to help Tony end a particularly arduous "negotiation" with a novel torture threat.
In "A Hit Is a Hit" Hesh helped Tony's nephew Christopher Moltisanti to realize that his partner and girlfriend Adriana La Cerva had little facility for work in the music business. Chris also made contact with Hesh on behalf of Massive Genius — a rapper who claimed Hesh owed compensation to the widow of a black musician he allegedly defrauded. When Hesh refused to pay, Massive threatened litigation; Hesh shrewdly threatened a countersuit of his own, alleging that the samples used in Massive's music infringed on his copyrights.
In "Christopher" Hesh helped Silvio in his Christopher Columbus day dispute by putting him in touch with a sympathetic Native American casino owner through his friend Jerry Schwartz. Hesh also sold Ralph Cifaretto the ill-fated racehorse Pie-O-My.
In the Season Five episode "In Camelot" Tony discovered that his father, Hesh and Phil Leotardo had been co-owners of a racetrack and that his father had promised a share to his Comare Fran Felstein. Tony arranged a sitdown with Phil and Hesh to secure the share which they reluctantly gave up.
In the Season Six premiere "Members Only" Hesh and his son-in-law Eli were attacked by member's of Phil Leotardo's crew - they had targeted Eli because they thought he was making collections on their turf without permission. The mobsters set fire to Eli's gas tank to get him and Hesh out of the car and then set about beating Eli. Eli was seriously hurt when he was the victim of a hit-and-run trying to escape the mobsters. Hesh was punched in the face. Hesh demanded and received restitution from Phil at a sit-down mediated by Tony. Hesh visited Tony in the hospital when he was recovering from his shooting.
In the final season Hesh gives Tony a $200,000 bridge loan to help Tony cover a string of gambling losses. Tony fails to repay the loan on time and starts berating Hesh about the vig on the loan which was $3,000 a week, leading to bad blood on both sides. When Hesh's girlfriend dies of a stroke, Tony repays the loan out of loyalty but offers only brief and impersonal condolences to his once-close friend, confirming the financial dispute has destroyed their relationship. Hesh's fate remains unknown.